Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How native plants and exotics coexist

Date:
November 30, 2012
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
Exotic plants in many ecosystems may be better competitors, but biologists have found that exotics can be kept in check by herbivory.

When people hear about exotic plants invading a new environment, there is usually a negative connotation, according to biology faculty member Matthew Heard in an article published in the journal Ecology Letters. They often think of plants like kudzu, Chinese privet, or Japanese honeysuckle, whose thuggish behavior can push out the native plants in their backyard or local parks.

While this worse case scenario can happen, it isn't always the case, said Heard, who wrote his Ph.D. dissertation at Brown University on how native and exotic plants coexist along the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

"It turns out that in many places, native and exotic plants can actually live together," Heard said. "And this means that exotic plants aren't inherently bad like many people think, but it also means that it is important to figure out what is driving this balance between these two groups."

In his paper, Heard notes that there has been little experimental fieldwork conducted to determine what factors allows native and exotic plants to live side by side. While there have been many potential explanations tossed out, it turns out that just being different is the main reason that they can actually coexist together.

"Basically, we found that exotics plants grow more and can essentially out-compete natives, which normally is a problem. But in these communities there are also insects, which prefer to eat exotic plants instead of natives and can keep their growth in check. As a result, native plants, which are less susceptible to these insects can thrive even when exotic plants that are better competitors are nearby," said Heard.

How long this precarious balance will remain is unknown, but for now it isn't just the case of exotic species being problematic. Instead it's the story of how differences between two groups of plants allow them to survive along side each other.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Matthew J. Heard, Dov F. Sax. Coexistence between native and exotic species is facilitated by asymmetries in competitive ability and susceptibility to herbivores. Ecology Letters, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/ele.12030

Cite This Page:

Brown University. "How native plants and exotics coexist." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121130110702.htm>.
Brown University. (2012, November 30). How native plants and exotics coexist. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121130110702.htm
Brown University. "How native plants and exotics coexist." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121130110702.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. 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