Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Student, Prof Present Research on Invasive Weed

28.07.2008
A Valparaiso University biology major and his faculty adviser will discuss how native wildflowers may be able to survive the onslaught of a poisonous invasive weed during a presentation at the annual conference of the Ecological Society of America in August. Valparaiso is a member of the Council on Undergraduate Research.

Senior Jonathan Finger of Algonquin, Ill., launched a research project into methods for controlling garlic mustard in the spring of 2007 at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in southwestern Michigan. He said garlic mustard, which plagues the Midwest and has aggressively invaded fields and forests from the East Coast to the West Coast, is more than a mere nuisance.

“The weed produces a chemical that poisons nearby plants, so not only does it compete with and overpower native plants, it down right poisons them,” Finger said. “Garlic mustard is killing our country’s biodiversity.”

With assistance from Dr. Laurie Eberhardt, associate professor of biology, Finger has conducted a series of experiments on and off campus to determine whether garlic mustard’s poison could be controlled with activated carbon, a form of carbon usually derived from charcoal.

... more about:
»Chemical »Plants »charcoal »poison

During research last summer at Pierce Cedar Creek – supported by a $6,000 grant from the Institute’s Undergraduate Research Grants for the Environment program – Finger applied activated carbon to test plots where garlic mustard was either present or absent. He then observed differences in the growth of the native plants.

That summer research was followed up by laboratory experiments on campus during the past academic year. One of those experiments looked at the effects of garlic mustard’s poisonous secretions on the germination of native columbine seeds and whether activated charcoal could reduce the negative impact of those chemicals. In a second experiment, columbine was germinated in soil either rich in garlic mustard chemicals or soil without any of the chemicals to see if the chemicals damaged wildflowers post-germination.

The results of Finger’s experiments indicate that applying activated carbon in places where native plants are threatened by garlic mustard can help them – and the wildlife that rely on native flora – survive.

“When my proposed treatment of activated charcoal was added to columbine exposed to the garlic mustard toxins, germination rates increased compared to those without the treatment,” Finger said. “This leads to the idea that activated charcoal may be a way to give wildflowers a fighting chance against poorly-behaved plants like garlic mustard.”

Finger and Dr. Eberhardt will present their study on the use of activated carbon to alleviate garlic mustard’s toxic effects on Aug. 8, the final day of the Ecological Society of America conference, which begins Aug. 3 in Milwaukee.

Dr. Eberhardt said it is rare for undergraduate students to be invited to present their research at the society’s annual conference, which is expected to draw more than 3,500 scientists, students and educators.

While not preparing for the conference presentation, Finger has split his summer working at the Environmental Learning Center at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and at the Shirley Heinze Land Trust.

Finger spends his weekday mornings and afternoons doing field restoration for the Shirley Heinze Land Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the unique ecosystems of the Indiana Dunes region.

“I’m out in their nature preserves applying herbicide, cutting trees and being an overall steward of the land,” said Finger, a student in Valparaiso’s interdisciplinary honors college (Christ College).

After finishing his field restoration work each day, Finger heads to his second job as a naturalist-trainee at the Indiana Dunes. He helps run summer camps at the Environmental Learning Center and lives in a cabin with elementary to high school age boys who are learning about nature, ecology and how to be a responsible environmentalist during the week-long camps.

Dustin J. Wunderlich | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.cur.org

Further reports about: Chemical Plants charcoal poison

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fish recognize their prey by electric colors
13.11.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection
13.11.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fish recognize their prey by electric colors

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Ultrasound Connects

13.11.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>