Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Invasive Plants Take Over

Date:
May 4, 2009
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
New research shows that two key causes of plant invasion -- escape from natural enemies, and increases in plant resources -- act in concert. This result helps to explain the dramatic invasions by exotic plants occurring worldwide. It also indicates that global change is likely to exacerbate invasion by exotic plants.

Global change is likely to exacerbate invasion and spread of exotic plants like leafy spurge, which already costs millions of dollars to control each year.
Credit: Image courtesy of USDA

New research shows that two key causes of plant invasion--escape from natural enemies, and increases in plant resources--act in concert. This result helps to explain the dramatic invasions by exotic plants occurring worldwide. It also indicates that global change is likely to exacerbate invasion by exotic plants.

Related Articles


Agricultural Research Service (ARS) ecologist Dana Blumenthal reached these conclusions after studying 243 European plant species and their fungal and viral pests, both in Europe and in the United States.

Blumenthal, based at the ARS Rangeland Resources Research Unit in Fort Collins, Colo., and colleagues at the University of North Carolina and in the Czech Republic showed that fast-growing plant species adapted to moist, nitrogen-rich soils had many fungal and viral pathogens in the areas where the weedy species evolved. Once these species arrived here, they escaped many of their long-time enemies.

Such an escape from numerous enemies is thought to provide exotic species with an advantage over native species still burdened by their enemies. This is the first study, however, to show that whether a plant escapes from a few or an unusually larger number of enemies can be predicted from the type of plant: Exotic species that are fast-growing and weedy are likely to have more enemies to escape from.

Unfortunately, these are the same species most favored by global change. Fast-growing weedy species thrive in environments with ample plant resources. And global change increases key plant resources, such as carbon dioxide and soil nitrogen, through increases in the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, respectively.

Fast-growing, weedy exotic species therefore have a double advantage in today's world. Increases in resources enable them to outcompete slow-growing plants. An escape from an unusually large number of enemies enables them to outcompete even fast-growing native plants. As global change proceeds, continuing increases in resource availability are likely to exacerbate such plant invasions.

The study was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Science Foundation, the European Union, and the Czech Republic supported the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Why Invasive Plants Take Over." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090502082952.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2009, May 4). Why Invasive Plants Take Over. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090502082952.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Why Invasive Plants Take Over." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090502082952.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 17, 2015) A truck carrying honey bees overturns near Lynnwood, Washington, spreading boxes of live bees across the highway. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog Flu Spreading in Midwestern States

Dog Flu Spreading in Midwestern States

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Dog flu is spreading in several Midwestern states. Dog daycare centers and veterinary offices are taking precautions. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rare Whale Spotted in Gulf of Mexico

Raw: Rare Whale Spotted in Gulf of Mexico

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers from the E/V Nautilus had quite a surprise Tuesday, when a curious sperm whale swam around their remotely operated vehicle in the Gulf of Mexico. Cameras captured the encounter. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins