Navigation Links
Invasive plants are beneficiaries of climate change in Thoreau's woods
Date:2/3/2010

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 3, 2010 -- Invasive plants could become even more prevalent and destructive as climate change continues, according to a new analysis of data stretching back more than 150 years.

Writing in the journal PLoS ONE, the Harvard University scientists who conducted the study say that non-native plants, and especially invasive species, appear to thrive during times of climate change because they're better able to adjust the timing of annual activities like flowering and fruiting.

"These results demonstrate for the first time that climate change likely plays a direct role in promoting non-native species success," says author Charles C. Davis, assistant professor in Harvard's Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. "Secondly, they highlight the importance of flowering time as a trait that may facilitate the success of non-native species. This kind of information could be very useful for predicting the success of future invaders."

Davis and his colleagues analyzed a dataset that began with Henry David Thoreau's cataloging of plants around Walden Pond in the 1850s, when the famed naturalist kept meticulous notes documenting natural history, plant species occurrences, and flowering times. Since then, the mean annual temperature around Concord, Mass., has increased by 2.4 degrees Celsius, or 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit, causing some plants to shift their flowering time by as much as three weeks in response to ever-earlier spring thaws.

"We set out to use this dataset to examine which plants have been the beneficiaries of climate change," Davis says. "Our research suggests quite decisively that non-native and invasive species have been the climate change winners. Climate change will lead to an as-yet unknown shuffling of species, and it appears that invasive species will become more dominant."

Davis and colleagues compared a plethora of plant traits -- everything from height at maturity to flower diameter to seed weight -- against species' response to more than a century and a half of climate change. Alone among all these traits, plants that have fared well share a common phenology, a suite of traits related to the timing of seasonal events such as flowering, leaf growth, germination, and migration.

By contrast, many plants with a less flexible flowering schedule -- and thus prone to flowering at suboptimal times -- have declined in population, in many cases to the point of local extinction.

The current work builds upon a 2008 paper by Davis and colleagues which showed that some of the plant families hit hardest by climate change at Walden Pond include beloved species like lilies, orchids, violets, roses, and dogwoods. The scientists also reported that some 27 percent of all species Thoreau recorded from 1851 to 1858 are now locally extinct, and another 36 percent are so sparse that extinction may be imminent.

"Invasive species can be intensely destructive to biodiversity, ecosystem function, agriculture, and human health," Davis says. "In the United States alone the estimated annual cost of invasive species exceeds $120 billion. Our results could help in developing predictive models to assess the threat of future invasive species, which may become greatly exacerbated in the face of continued climate change."


'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Bradt
steve_bradt@harvard.edu
617-496-8070
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Humble garden pea helps Kew scientists develop cool, noninvasive diagnostic test of seed quality
2. Whiskers hold secrets of invasive minks
3. Gas improves blood flow and organ status during minimally invasive surgery
4. Report documents the risks of giant invasive snakes in the US
5. Study details safe, effective, minimally invasive mitral valve repair
6. Research needed to learn which DCIS patients may be candidates for less invasive therapy
7. Over time, an invasive plant loses its toxic edge
8. National assessment done on potential invasive snail and slug pests in US
9. Leicester research paves way for first use in Europe of an insect to fight invasive plant
10. New, less invasive genetic test greatly improves pregnancy rates in older women with poor prognosis
11. Potential for non-invasive brain tumor treatment
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Invasive plants are beneficiaries of climate change in Thoreau's woods
(Date:4/19/2016)... DUBAI , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... can be implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system ... in the biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface ... requirements of modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions ... the ID readers into the building installations offer considerable ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... BOCA RATON, Florida , March 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... LEGX ) ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") ... presentation for potential users of its soon to be ... The video ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyTLBzmZogV1y2D6bDkBX5g ) will also ... by the use of DNA technology to an industry ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... PROVO and SANDY, ... Screening Ontario (NSO), which operates the highest sample volume ... testing, and Tute Genomics and UNIConnect, leaders in clinical ... today announced the launch of a project to establish ... testing panel. NSO has been contracted ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... F.E.E.D. Co., the ... of their revolutionary, veterinarian-designed product for indoor cats. The NoBowl Feeding System replaces ... their food the way nature intended. NoBowls make cats happy and healthy. , ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... During a two ... into a viable company, CereScan’s CEO, John Kelley, joined other Denver business leaders ... and mentor in the Denver area business community, shared his top fundamental learnings ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... NEW YORK , April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... biotechnology acceleration company reports the Company,s CEO  was ... capital titled Accelerators Enter When VCs Fear To ... Life Science Leader magazine is an ... work for everything from emerging biotechs to Big ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Cambridge Semantics, the leading provider of Smart Data ... has been named to The Silicon Review’s “20 Fastest Growing Big Data Companies of ... serves the needs of end users facing some of the most complex data challenges ...
Breaking Biology Technology: