Navigation Links
Study provides first evidence of coevolution between invasive, native species
Date:6/28/2012

Athens, Ga. Invasive species such as kudzu, privet and garlic mustard can devastate ecosystems, and, until now, scientists had little reason to believe that native plants could mount a successful defense.

A new University of Georgia study shows that some native clearweed plants have evolved resistance to invasive garlic mustard plantsand that the invasive plants appear to be waging a counterattack. The study, published in the early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is thought to provide the first evidence of coevolution between native and invasive plant species.

"The implications of this study are encouraging because they show that the native plants aren't taking this invasion lying down," said study author Richard Lankau, assistant professor of plant biology in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "It suggests that if you were to take a longer viewa timescale of centuriesthat exotic species could become integrated into their communities in a way that is less problematic for the natives."

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) was introduced to the U.S. from Europe roughly 150 years ago first in New York and Virginia and then to the Chicago area. The noxious plant continues to spread rapidly throughout the Northeast, Midwest and Southeast. "It's a pretty well-hated plant," Lankau said, because it can form dense carpets in forest understories and, even after being physically removed from an area, can reestablish itself within a year.

Much of the plant's success is a result of the chemical warfare it wages with a compound known as sinigrin, which kills fungi that help native plants extract nutrients from the soil. The chemical is relatively new to North America, and this novelty gives garlic mustard a huge competitive advantage.

Through a series of greenhouse and field experiments conducted over three years in five states, Lankau has shown that invasive garlic mustard produces more sinigrin in areas where more local plants are present. He found that native clearweed (Pilea pumila) plants, which were chosen for the study because they occupy the same forest understory habitat, show higher levels of resistance to sinigrin in areas where the two species have a longer history of coexistence.

"It looks like the native plants have evolved in response to the traits of the invader," Lankau said.

In addition to transplanting clearweed seeds back to their sites of origin, Lankau also planted them in all of the other study sites and monitored their growth. Each site has its unique soil chemistry and climate, and Lankau said he expected the plants to exhibit a home-field advantage. Instead, he found that native plants resistant to the invader did best in heavily invaded sites, regardless of where they originated. Surprisingly, he found that plants resistant to sinigrin actually did worse than their less-resistant-plant counterparts in areas where there was little or no garlic mustard.

"It's not all good for those populations that are evolving tolerance," Lankau said. "Because they are less successful in the absence of garlic mustard, their resistance to the invasive species comes at a cost."

Taken together, the findings suggest that the native and invasive species could reach equilibrium over a long period of time. Lankau said the study also raises the possibility that humans can help speed the adaptation of ecosystems to invasive species. He explained that removing invasive species and replanting natives often results in failure but replacing invasive species with native plants from an area where the plants have had time to adapt to the invader could be more effective. Rather than replanting clearweed from a recently invaded site in Michigan, for example, land managers could use plants from New York that are more likely to be resistant to garlic mustard.

"When people talk about evolution, it's usually in the past tense," Lankau said. "But one of the important messages from this study is that it's an ongoing process that can happen fast. And this study suggests that we might be able to jumpstart that process through evolutionarily informed management."


'/>"/>

Contact: Richard Lankau
ralankau@uga.edu
706-542-1870
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UCSB scientists compile first study of potential for tsunamis in northwestern California
2. New study demonstrates the role of urban greenery in CO2 exchange
3. UGA study reveals flu-fighting role for well-known immune component
4. UCLA biologists reveal potential fatal flaw in iconic sexual selection study
5. Disappearing grasslands: ASU scientists to study dramatic environmental change
6. First paternity study of southern right whales finds local fathers most successful
7. New study: Snacking on raisins significantly reduces overall post-meal blood sugar levels
8. Discovery increases understanding how bacteria spread: U of A study
9. BUSM study shows role of cellular protein in regulation of binge eating
10. Melting sea ice threatens emperor penguins, study finds
11. Study: No-fat, low-fat dressings dont get most nutrients out of salads
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/23/2017)... Mar. 23, 2017 Research and Markets has ... Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to ... ... a CAGR of around 8.8% over the next decade to reach ... analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all the given segments ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... , March 20, 2017 At this year,s ... -based biometrics manufacturer DERMALOG. The Chancellor came to the DERMALOG stand ... is this year,s CeBIT partner country. At the largest German biometrics ... in use: fingerprint, face and iris recognition as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics ... ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... , Australia , March 9, ... study data at the prestigious World Lung Imaging Workshop ... Andreas Fouras , was invited to deliver the ... pulmonary medicine. This globally recognised event brings together leaders ... share the latest developments in lung imaging. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... Mitotech S.A, a Luxembourg ... Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) patients. LHON is a rare devastating genetic disease that leads ... eye drops in a group of 20 patients carrying 11778, 14484 and 3460 mutations ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... During the course ... how testing for 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D can enhance clinical practice. Participants will learn the ... dihydroxyvitamin D. , Dr. Gregory Plotnikoff, senior consultant with Minnesota Personalized Medicine, will ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... USA (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2017 , ... ... optics and photonics , joined other scientists, researchers, engineers, and industry professionals in ... to strengthen America's ability to compete in the world photonics industry. , This ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... , April 27, 2017  Kinexum, a distinguished ... products, today announces the appointment of Thomas C. ... Alexander ("Zan") Fleming, M.D., Kinexum founder, who becomes Executive ... advisor to Kinexum clients. Thomas Seoh ... on the Kinexum mission and lead the firm,s remarkable ...
Breaking Biology Technology: