Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

American black cherry tree overruns Europe by playing dirty

10.12.2003


The invasion of Europe by an American cherry tree is helped along by Europeans’ own dirt, according to a new study by scientists at Indiana University Bloomington and the Centre for Terrestrial Ecology in the Netherlands.



Their report, in the December issue of Ecology Letters, suggests it’s what’s in European soils -- or more specifically, what isn’t in them -- that makes it possible for the American black cherry tree to have invaded the continent.

"We’re seeing a definite positive effect of European soil on black cherry’s growth," said IU biologist Kurt Reinhart, who led the study. "Back in its native range, however, there appears to be something in the soil that prevents the tree from growing easily."


Reinhart’s study suggests that in Europe, the invasion of black cherry (Prunus serotina) may actually be helped along by local soil microbes. The study corroborates earlier research showing that American soil microbes inhibit the trees’ growth. Pythium, a fungus that causes "damping-off disease" in young trees, is one known genus of black cherry pathogens in the American Midwest.

Black cherry trees, which produce a fruit more often consumed by birds and other wildlife than by humans, have proliferated to such an extent overseas that some concerned Europeans are taking matters into their own hands.

"In parts of Europe, like the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, the tree is considered quite a pest," said IU biologist Keith Clay, a coauthor of the report. "We are told some Dutch school children are going out on field trips into the woods to pull the tree seedlings and saplings out."

The research team examined the distribution of black cherry trees in four locations -- the Indiana University Research and Teaching Preserve and Griffy Lake Nature Preserve in Bloomington, Ind., and De Ossenbos and De Leeren Doedel in The Netherlands. The scientists also conducted experiments in American and Dutch greenhouses to assess soil properties from the two countries’ study sites. In some pots, soil was sterilized with heat. Black cherry seedlings were grown for two months.

The researchers found that black cherry is sparsely distributed across Indiana forests, but the trees were found in dense clumps in Dutch forests. In the greenhouse experiments, Reinhart and his colleagues found native black cherry grew poorly in non-sterilized soil but grew comparatively well in sterilized soil. Black cherry grew more poorly in sterilized Dutch soil, however, suggesting microbes in the European soil may actually help the cherry seedlings grow.

Reinhart and his colleagues concluded there are pathogens in American soils that inhibit the growth of the trees, and without the pathogens, black cherry prospers. The fact that invader trees do well in Dutch soil, whether or not that soil is sterilized, supports a popular hypothesis that plant species do well in non-native habitats because they are able to escape pathogens, herbivores and competitors that stymie their growth.

Alissa Packer (IUB) and Wim Van der Putten (Centre for Terrestrial Ecology) also contributed to the report. It was funded by the University of Montana’s University Research Grant Program and by National Science Foundation grant DEB-0090056.

David Bricker | Indiana University
Further information:
http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/1202.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Waste in the water – New purification techniques for healthier aquatic ecosystems
24.07.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht Plenty of habitat for bears in Europe
24.07.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

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: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>