Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plant Life Discovery On Boston Harbor Islands Could Help Future Damage Caused By Exotic Species

Date:
May 19, 2009
Source:
Northeastern University
Summary:
New findings of ecologists studying plant life on the Boston Harbor Islands may advance societal efforts to stem the damage caused by invading exotic species.

The exotic plant, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), grows on the Boston Harbor Islands.
Credit: Image courtesy of Northeastern University

The recent findings by a team of Northeastern University ecologists studying plant life on the Boston Harbor Islands may advance societal efforts to stem the damage caused by invading exotic species.

When these non-native species of plants gain a toehold and start colonizing, they can cause tremendous economic and environmental harm. In 2005, damages resulting from these exotic colonies cost an estimated $120 billion. For that reason, scientists continue to try to identify what factors influence the establishment of exotic species in order to help prevent them from colonizing.

The Northeastern study, published in the journal Ecology, found that, contrary to prior research, exotic plant species are more capable of colonizing islands further away from the mainland than their native counterparts.

“Our study shows how the predictions of island biogeography can provide insight into the broad-scale factors driving the colonization and establishment of exotic species on islands,” said Associate Professor of Biology Geoffrey C. Trussell, one of the lead researchers, and director of Northeastern’s Marine Science Center.

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Science Foundation, this study is unique because it overcame issues that have limited the conclusions of previous studies on the distribution and abundance of exotic and native species on islands. Trussell, Marine Science Center postdoctoral research associate Jeremy Long, and Ted Elliman of the New England Wild Flower Society, focused their study on a group of islands that were ideal in terms of their location and the number of exotic and native species colonizing on them.

Trussell noted that, according to classical island biogeography theory, larger islands should have more species than smaller islands and islands located closer to the mainland should have more species than islands further away from the mainland.

The Northeastern study found that, consistent with theory, the larger harbor islands closer to the mainland have more native and exotic species than the smaller islands further away from the mainland.

However, the greater relative abundance of exotic species on the islands further away from the mainland suggests that native and exotic species are responding differently to island isolation and potentially other factors.

“We hope that similar approaches by future researchers will provide a better understanding of exotic and native plant communities and the mechanisms driving their dynamics,” added Trussell.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northeastern University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northeastern University. "Plant Life Discovery On Boston Harbor Islands Could Help Future Damage Caused By Exotic Species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090514221501.htm>.
Northeastern University. (2009, May 19). Plant Life Discovery On Boston Harbor Islands Could Help Future Damage Caused By Exotic Species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090514221501.htm
Northeastern University. "Plant Life Discovery On Boston Harbor Islands Could Help Future Damage Caused By Exotic Species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090514221501.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 15, 2014) Pennsylvania-based Schramm is incorporating modern technology in its next generation oil-drigging rigs, making them smaller, safer and smarter. Ernest Scheyder reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dutch Highway Introduces Glow-In-The-Dark Paint

Dutch Highway Introduces Glow-In-The-Dark Paint

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) A Dutch highway has become the first lit by glow-in-the-dark paint — a project aimed at reducing street light use. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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