Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Examine How Some Invasive Plants Gain a Foothold

11.01.2007
Plant geneticist Norman Ellstrand leads an experiment that points out how controlling sexual compatibility can help control the spread of some invasive species.

University of California, Riverside genetics Professor Norman Ellstrand led a team of researchers whose findings suggest that harnessing the sexual requirements of some plants can help control the establishment of invasive species.

Using the California wild radish as their model, Ellstrand and graduate student Caroline Ridley at the UCR Department of Botany and Plant Sciences co-authored the research study titled Population size and relatedness affect fitness of self-incompatible invasive plants, published in the Dec. 29 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The current article originated from a doctoral dissertation project by former UCR graduate student Diane Elam. Fellow graduate student Karen Goodell also worked on the project. Elam is now with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sacramento office. Karen Goodell now teaches at Ohio State University.

The experiment involved population groups ranging in size from two to 20 plants and was carried out at UCR’s Agricultural Experiment Station. The experiment examined whether a biological phenomenon known as the Allee effect could be used to battle the spread of invasive plants. The Allee effect, named after ecologist W.C. Allee, says that the smaller and sparser a given population, the harder and slower it is for that population to establish itself and expand its range.

... more about:
»Allee »Ellstrand »invasive »invasive plants

Because the California wild radish is what plant biologist call self-incompatible – it needs another plant to reproduce – researchers wanted to know if its fertility would be impacted by population size and the degree to which the mating pairs were genetically related. They found that, as with humans, mates were harder to find in smaller populations and most likely to be compatible if unrelated.

“We call this the 'single’s bar effect,'” Ellstrand said. “Namely, that mating success increases both with the number of possible mates and their sexual receptivity.”

Using populations of full sibling, half-sibling and unrelated plants, the researchers found that both population size and the degree of relatedness had an impact on the plants’ reproductive success, increasing with larger populations as well as when the plants were more genetically diverse. Population size had the greatest effect on numbers of seeds per fruit – the larger the population size, the more seeds per fruit.

Relatedness had an impact primarily on the number of fruits per plant. Unrelated plants had significantly greater numbers of fruit than half- or full-sibling plants.

The Allee effect could therefore be used as a weapon against invasive species if, for example, authorities who regulate industries that traffic in exotic plants allow the import of only a single genotype. This could minimize the likelihood that the plant will spread by seed propagation, according to the article.

The California wild radish, Raphanus sativus, is a hybrid between the cultivated radish and a weed known as the jointed charlock. It is most commonly pollinated by bees and syrphid flies. Introduced more than a century ago, the California wild radish currently ranges throughout California, south into Baja California and north into Oregon.

Other invasive plants that need partners to reproduce and are found in California, include jointed goatgrass, Queen Anne’s lace or wild carrot, marijuana and the wild sunflower, according to Ellstrand.

The California Invasive Plant Council defines invasive plants as those that humans move from one region of the globe to another, and which then crowd out native vegetation and the wildlife that feeds on it. Some invasive plants can even change the processes of ecosystems such as the hydrology, the fire regimes, and the soil chemistry. These invasive plants often have a competitive advantage because they are no longer controlled by their natural predators and can quickly spread out of control. The council estimates that about 3 percent of the plant species growing in the wild are considered invasive, but they inhabit a much greater proportion of the state's landscape.

The following agencies supported the UCR project: The National Research Initiative; the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service; a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Ellstrand; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science to Achieve Results fellowship to Ridley.

Ricardo Duran | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucr.edu

Further reports about: Allee Ellstrand invasive invasive plants

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

nachricht Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017
25.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>