The Role of Humans in U.S. Plant Invasions

 
The Role of Humans in U.S. Plant Invasions

As exotic introduced plants spread into areas where they weren’t wanted, plant biologists and others looked closely at the effects of human activities on plant hybridization. Over half a century ago, two scientists came up with the “disturbance hypothesis,” which proposes that disturbances from human activities promote hybridization by creating habitats hybrids can persist in. Though the hypothesis is widely accepted and proven in small-scale studies, the connection between human disturbance and hybridization hasn’t been satisfactorily corroborated at regional or national scales. Until now, that is. Eastern Threat Center research ecologist Qinfeng Guo analyzed huge datasets from plant, population, weather, and other sources to reveal that hotspots of hybrid plants occur in areas with large human populations and with many years of European settlement, supporting the disturbance hypothesis. In an article recently published in the journal Biodiversity Research, Guo reports findings from his study, which is the first to analyze the richness and distribution of hybrid plants at the county level across the contiguous U.S. Read more in CompassLive...

Pictured: Bell’s honeysuckle is a hybrid between two exotics. Unlike many exotic hybrids, it is included on the invasive plants lists of 14 states. Photo by Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org.

 

Document Actions
 
Personal tools