Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Home and away: How do invasive plant species dominate native species?

Date:
February 8, 2011
Source:
Wiley - Blackwell
Summary:
Invasive plant species present a serious environmental, economic and social problem worldwide as their abundance can lead to lost native biodiversity and ecosystem functions, such as nutrient cycling. Despite substantial research, little is known about why some species can dominate new habitats over native plants that technically should have the advantage.

Fencing in Boulder, Colorado, marks the location of a Nutrient Network site.
Credit: Brett Melbourne, University of Colorado-Boulder

Invasive plant species present a serious environmental, economic and social problem worldwide as their abundance can lead to lost native biodiversity and ecosystem functions, such as nutrient cycling. Despite substantial research, little is known about why some species can dominate new habitats over native plants that technically should have the advantage.

A common but rarely tested assumption is that these plants are more abundant in introduced versus native communities, because they are behaving in special way. If this true and introduced species are behaving in a special way it means biosecurity screening procedures need to speculate on how species will behave once introduced, a very difficult task to get right.

A global collaboration called the Nutrient Network tested this 'abundance assumption' for 26 herbaceous species at 39 sites on four continents in a recent publication in the journal Ecology Letters. The lead author of 36, Jennifer Firn from the Queensland University of Technology and CSIRO, Australia found that the 'abundance assumption' did not hold for the majority of species with 20 of the 26 species examined having either a similar or lower abundance at introduced versus native sites.

"Our results suggest that invasive plant species have a similar or lower abundance at introduced and native range and that increases in species abundance are unusual. Instead, we found abundance at native sites can predict abundance at introduced sites, a criterion not currently used included in biosecurity screening programs. We also found sites in New Zealand and Switzerland for example were similar in species composition sharing in some cases more than 10 species, all with similar abundances" Dr. Firn said.

This study is the first to be published from a cooperative global experiment the Nutrient Network. The Nutrient Network is led at the site-level by individual researchers and coordinated through funding from NSF to Dr. Elizabeth Borer and Dr. Eric Seabloom from the University of Minnesota.

"The Nutrient Network is the only collaboration of its kind, where individual researchers have set-up the same experiment at sites around the world. For three years, we have been collecting population, community, and ecosystem-scale vegetation data, including species-specific distribution and abundance data, with standardized protocols across more than 60 sites around the world. The experimental design used is simple, but one that provides a new, global-scale approach for us to address many critical ecological issues such as invasive species and changing climates," Associate Prof. Borer said.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Wiley - Blackwell. "Home and away: How do invasive plant species dominate native species?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201083932.htm>.
Wiley - Blackwell. (2011, February 8). Home and away: How do invasive plant species dominate native species?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201083932.htm
Wiley - Blackwell. "Home and away: How do invasive plant species dominate native species?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201083932.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Airlines on Iceland Volcano Alert

Airlines on Iceland Volcano Alert

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 22, 2014) Iceland evacuates an area north of the country's Bardarbunga volcano, as the country's civil protection agency says it cannot rule out an eruption. Authorities have already warned airlines. As Joel Flynn reports, ash from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 shut down much of Europe's airspace for six days. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks

Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) China's energy revolution could do more harm than good for the environment, despite the country's commitment to reducing pollution and curbing its carbon emissions. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer

Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) Aluminum giant, Novelis, has partnered with Red Hare Brewing Company to introduce the first certified high-content recycled beverage can. (Aug. 22) 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:
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