Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Invasive plant species may harm native grasslands by changing soil composition

Date:
December 19, 2012
Source:
Allen Press Publishing Services
Summary:
The future landscape of the American Midwest could look a lot like the past—covered in native grasslands rather than agricultural crops. This is not a return to the past, however, but a future that could depend on grasslands for biofuels, grazing systems, carbon sequestration, and other ecosystem services. A major threat to this ecosystem is an old one—weeds and their influence on the soil.

The future landscape of the American Midwest could look a lot like the past -- covered in native grasslands rather than agricultural crops. This is not a return to the past, however, but a future that could depend on grasslands for biofuels, grazing systems, carbon sequestration, and other ecosystem services. A major threat to this ecosystem is an old one -- weeds and their influence on the soil.

Related Articles


According to a study in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management, when invasive plants spread, they can leave behind a "legacy" of alteration in the native soil. Even after an invading species has been controlled, its effects can inhibit the regrowth of native plant species. The causes of this process are still being investigated and may involve changes in soil food webs, soil microbial communities, and mutualistic fungi.

In the study, researchers tested soil conditions for changes in composition after three growth cycles of invasive plant species. Researchers looked for changes in colonization rates, diversity, and composition of arbuscular-mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). Three exotic plant species -- crested wheatgrass, smooth brome, and leafy spurge -- were tested in a glasshouse experiment. These plants, all characterized as strong invaders, were grown in native soil collected from North Dakota grasslands. Native species, including western wheatgrass, little bluestem, and blue gramma, were also grown, and after three growth cycles, soil composition was compared among these treatments.

The findings of this study showed that (1) invasive species changed the composition of AMF communities in seedling roots of native grassland species, and (2) invasive species were less colonized by AMF, forming fewer associations than native grassland species. These findings suggest that the ecological differences in how these native and invasive plants interact with soil may be a factor in this legacy effect. While market and policy demands might lead to a native grasslands agro-ecosystem, invasive plants species could derail its establishment. Weed management must be a component of any such ecosystem, so that it is possible to establish grasslands that are useful and profitable.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Allen Press Publishing Services. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nicholas R. Jordan, Laura Aldrich-Wolfe, Sheri C. Huerd, Diane L. Larson, Gary Muehlbauer. Soil–Occupancy Effects of Invasive and Native Grassland Plant Species on Composition and Diversity of Mycorrhizal Associations. Invasive Plant Science and Management, 2012; 5 (4): 494 DOI: 10.1614/IPSM-D-12-00014.1

Cite This Page:

Allen Press Publishing Services. "Invasive plant species may harm native grasslands by changing soil composition." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219092817.htm>.
Allen Press Publishing Services. (2012, December 19). Invasive plant species may harm native grasslands by changing soil composition. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219092817.htm
Allen Press Publishing Services. "Invasive plant species may harm native grasslands by changing soil composition." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219092817.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. 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:

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