Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Exotic plant takes over dunes of Southern Spain

Date:
March 29, 2010
Source:
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Summary:
Introduced more than 40 years ago, Galenia pubescens, an exotic plant from South Africa is found in great numbers in altered coastal environments in the south of Spain. Since its impacts on the ecosystem are unknown, a Spanish research team has studied its invasive capacity. The conclusions of this study show that, although populations of this plant are still at incipient levels, effective control is needed to prevent this "potentially" invasive plant from having more serious impacts.

This is the detail of the invasive plant from South Africa.
Credit: Juan Garcia-de-Lomas.

Introduced more than 40 years ago, Galenia pubescens, an exotic plant from South Africa is found in great numbers in altered coastal environments in the south of Spain. Since its impacts on the ecosystem are unknown, a Spanish research team has studied its invasive capacity. The conclusions of this study show that, although populations of this plant are still at incipient levels, effective control is needed to prevent this "potentially" invasive plant from having more serious impacts.

In order to be able to predict the invasive success of this plant and identify coastal areas at greatest risk, the scientists evaluated its capacity to invade the coasts of Andalusia, in southern Spain. The results were clear: "Galenia pubescens is a potentially invasive plant and should be included in the national catalogues of invasive plants," says Juan García-de-Lomas, lead author of the study and a researcher in the Biology Department at the University of Cadiz,.

The research team, which has published its conclusions in Acta Oecologica, also points out that dunes are more vulnerable than marsh areas, since the plant produces more seeds in grows better on dunes.

"The impacts of this plant show a clear decline in the wealth and diversity of other plants in the invaded sites compared with control sites (not invaded), as well as a change in functional types (increase in wasteland plants, which develop and live in areas of human habitation or along communication lines) and a loss of perennial plant types," says García-de-Lomas. The scientist says these impacts will mean "a longer recovery period for ecosystems once this plant has been eliminated."

The researchers also found that the dense carpets of Galenia generate "very significant shade covering." This limits the ability of native seeds and young plants to germinate and develop, and causes changes in the features of the soil, for example acting as a brake on the movement of sand, and increasing moisture.

A threat to biodiversity

This exotic plant was accidentally introduced into various places around the world (Australia, Israel and Chile), but populations of Galenia pubescens in Europe are concentrated in the south of Spain.

Plant invasions pose major threats to biodiversity. Many places around the world have been isolated for thousands or millions of years by biogeographical frontiers, resulting in the generation of great biodiversity as a result of isolation, speciation processes, natural selection and co-evolution.

However, transport and trade "upset the relationships between species in an accidental or intentional way, giving rise to the introduction of species beyond their natural areas of distribution (thereby making them into exotic species)," the researcher says. Some of these species reproduce in an uncontrolled way in these new areas, causing serious damage to the environment.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Juan García-de-Lomas, Andrés Cózar, Elías D. Dana, Ignacio Hernández, Íñigo Sánchez-García, Carlos M. García. Invasiveness of Galenia pubescens (Aizoaceae): A new threat to Mediterranean-climate coastal ecosystems. Acta Oecologica, 2010; 36 (1): 39 DOI: 10.1016/j.actao.2009.09.007

Cite This Page:

FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Exotic plant takes over dunes of Southern Spain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100329112201.htm>.
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. (2010, March 29). Exotic plant takes over dunes of Southern Spain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100329112201.htm
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Exotic plant takes over dunes of Southern Spain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100329112201.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) — Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — Poachers have killed 100,000 elephants between 2010 and 2012, as the booming ivory trade takes its toll on the animals in Africa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. 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