Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Impact of Invasive Species Varies with Latitude, Highlighting Need for Biogeographic Perspective on Invasions

27.10.2014

University of Rhode Island ecologist Laura Meyerson and colleague Jim Cronin from Louisiana State University conducted an ambitious large-scale National Science Foundation funded study on native and invasive Phragmites australis (common reed) in North America and Europe. They found that the intensity of plant invasions by non-native species can vary considerably with changes in latitude.

“When looking at a continental scale invasion in particular, we can’t assume that the invasion is uniform across the region because of latitudinal differences in species interactions like herbivore pressure and resistance to herbivory,” said Meyerson, URI associate professor of habitat restoration ecology.

“Some biogeographic regions may be more susceptible to invasions while others are more resistant. So, if we don’t look at invasions at a macro scale, such as for an entire continent, we might misinterpret the invasion process and the strength of its impacts.

“Our continental-scale biogeographic perspective allowed us to have some insights into the heterogeneity of invasions that are not possible for smaller scale studies,” she added.

The research was published this month in the journal Ecology.

In their study of native and non-native sub-species of P. australis on both continents, they also found that herbivores feed upon the native Phragmites in North America at a much greater rate than on the invasive Phragmites.

“Our native Phragmites in North America is getting hammered by both native and introduced insects, whereas the invasive Phragmites in North America suffers far less herbivory than it does in its native Europe,” she said. “That’s partly because when invasives are introduced to a new place, they leave their enemies behind and can devote their resources to greater growth.”

To determine whether differences occurred in resistance to herbivory, Meyerson and Cronin surveyed 13 patches of native Phragmites and 17 patches of non-native Phragmites along the East Coast from Canada to Florida. They conducted similar surveys of 21 patches of Phragmites in Europe from Norway to southern Portugal. (The native European species and the invasive non-native species in North America are the same lineage.)

At each site Meyerson and Cronin measured plant biomass and defenses against herbivores and quantified insect damage by galling, chewing and sucking (aphids) insects to measure the effects of herbivory on Phragmites fitness. They found that chewing and galling insects consumed a greater quantity of the native and non-native plants in the southern part of North America, while aphids were more prevalent at higher latitudes.

“Interactions between herbivores and native plants were much stronger than interactions between herbivores and invasive plants at lower latitudes, making the southern region more susceptible to invasive species,” Cronin said. “This means that the invasive plants suffer less herbivory at lower latitudes than the native plants, giving the invasive Phragmites a greater opportunity to invade.

“This pattern weakens at higher latitudes suggesting that herbivores may be more important in limiting invasion success in the north,” he added.

Based on their results, Meyerson and Cronin believe that efforts to identify an insect that could be used as an agent of biocontrol for the invasive Phragmites may do more damage to the native species than to the invasive variety.

“Because we found that all of the insects perform better on the native than on the invasive type, it suggests to us that if a biocontrol is released in North America, it’s going to harm the native Phragmites more than the invasive,” they said. “Our data suggests that it would be ill advised to release a biocontrol agent against Phragmites.”

Contact Information

Todd McLeish
Public Information Officer
tmcleish@uri.edu
Phone: 401-874-7892

Todd McLeish | newswise
Further information:
http://www.uri.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New Method of Characterizing Graphene

Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.

Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

3D printer inks from the woods

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

How circadian clocks communicate with each other

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Graphene and quantum dots put in motion a CMOS-integrated camera that can see the invisible

30.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>