Navigation Links
Home and away: Are invasive plant species really that special?
Date:2/1/2011

Invasive plant species are a serious environmental, economic and social problem worldwide. Their abundance can lead to lost native biodiversity and ecosystem functions, such as nutrient cycling.

Despite substantial research, however, little is known about why some species dominate new habitats over native plants that technically should have the advantage.

A common but rarely tested assumption, say biologists, is that these plants behave in a special way, making them more abundant when introduced into communities versus native plants that are already there.

If true, it would mean that biosecurity screening procedures need to address how species will behave once introduced to nonnative communities--very difficult to get right, researchers have found.

Scientists in a global collaboration called the Nutrient Network tested this "abundance assumption" for 26 plant species at 39 locations on four continents and found numerous problems with it.

The results are published in a paper in the current issue of the journal Ecology Letters.

"Predicting success of invading species is difficult and uncertain, but very important," says Henry Gholz, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Environmental Biology, which funds the Nutrient Network.

"The Nutrient Network has enabled a field test of one of the most basic assumptions of current models," says Gholz, "and found it lacking. But, the results could lead to better predictions in the future."

Twenty of the 26 species examined had a similar or lower abundance at introduced versus native sites.

"The results suggest that invasive plants have a similar or lower abundance at both introduced and native ranges, and that increases in species abundance are unusual," says scientist Jennifer Firn from Queensland University of Technology and CSIRO, Australia, the lead author of the paper's 36 co-authors.

"Instead, abundance at native sites can predict abundance at introduced sites, a criterion not currently included in biosecurity screening programs."

Sites in New Zealand and Switzerland, for example, were similar in species composition, sharing--in some cases--more than 10 species, all with similar abundances.

The results are the first to be published from the Nutrient Network.

The Nutrient Network is led by individual researchers at the various sites, and coordinated through NSF funding to biologists Elizabeth Borer and Eric Seabloom of the University of Minnesota.

"The Nutrient Network is the only collaboration of its kind where individual researchers have set up the same experiment at sites around the world," says Borer.

For three years scientists have been collecting population, community and ecosystem-scale plant data, including species-specific distribution and abundance data, with standardized protocols across dozens of sites.

"The experimental design used is simple," says Borer, "but it's one that provides a new, global-scale approach for addressing many critical ecological issues.

"It will tell us information we need to know about invasive species and changing climates."


'/>"/>

Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Forest Service offers free guide to managing invasive plants
2. What triggers mass extinctions? Study shows how invasive species stop new life
3. Invisible invasive species
4. Invasive species -- the biggest threat to fish in the Mediterranean basin
5. Potential hemlock hybrids tolerant to invasive hemlock woolly adelgid
6. Montana State, partners in 6 states consider converting invasive plants to fuel
7. Auxogyn licenses noninvasive embryo assessment technology from Stanford University
8. New analysis weighs lost trade, costs to control invasive species against economic damages
9. NOAA divers capture invasive lionfish in the Virgin Islands National Park
10. Forest Service updates free guide to Invasive Plants in Southern Forests
11. NOAA awards $2.5 million for research on invasive species in the Great Lakes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Home and away: Are invasive plant species really that special?
(Date:11/15/2016)... DUBLIN , Nov 15, 2016 Research ... - Global Forecast to 2021" report to their offering. ... ... reach USD 16.18 Billion by 2021 from USD 6.21 Billion in ... Growth of the bioinformatics market is driven by ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016   Acuant , the ... solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ® ... Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous Workforce ... add functional enhancements to existing physical access ... venues with an automated ID verification and ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... 2016 Transparency Market Research ... Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis Size Share ... the report, the  global gesture recognition market  was ... is estimated to grow at a CAGR of ... Increasing application of gesture recognition technology ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... 2016 , ... PhUSE will build on the huge success ... Day Events (SDE) to organize a multiple-day US conference. The first annual US ... the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry will cover industry standards, data science, regulations ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... KING OF PRUSSIA, PA (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... clinical research is through industry-wide collaboration, standardization and a beautiful technology experience. All three ... which convened more than 100 clinical trial leaders from over 40 sponsor, CRO and ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... The ... to collaboratively developing improved chemistry, manufacturing and control technologies for the pharmaceutical ... with robust, probe-based sampling. , Online liquid chromatography analysis is becoming ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... YORK , Dec. 1, 2016   SurePure, ... photopurification, announced today that the Company has concluded an ... the right for a 90-day period to acquire units ... value of approximately USD 3.7 million.  ... agreement with Tamarack under which Tamarack will seek regulatory ...
Breaking Biology Technology: