Plant traits can often determine invasives potential

PARTNERS: USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis, Pacific Northwest Research Station, and Northern Research Station; National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC); Illinois State Museum; Purdue University; University of Nevada-Reno; University of Washington; University of Tennessee-Knoxville; University of Missouri; Western Carolina University; U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); South Florida Water Management District; Chinese Academy of Sciences; University of California-Berkeley; USGS-EROS Data Center; Nanjing University; Taiwan National University; University of Georgia; Biota of North America Program; Synthesis Centre sDiv / Wissenschaftlicher Koordinator Synthesezentrum sDiv German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig; North Carolina State University; Florida International University

SUMMARY: Identifying potentially invasive species is important and necessary to predict and manage their threat to forest health. Ecologists have generally agreed that there is no simple biological predictor of invasion success, but certain biological traits tend to be associated with invasion success more than others. Life history and genetic information are critical for developing early warning/prevention systems, predictive simulation models under various climatic scenarios, risk assessment, and management plans. The major questions to be addressed include: (1) What are the common and unique life history characteristics and traits of 4,000 plant species introduced into the United States? and (2) What kinds of species are most invasive and whether such invasiveness is related to particular life history/genetic traits? Scientists are compiling data for biological traits including life cycle, growth form, woodiness, deciduousness, pollinating agent, fruit type, dispersal agent, and photosynthetic pathway. Researchers will also collect information regarding introduction pathways and vectors, introduction time and locations, and current distribution.

EFETAC's ROLE: The Eastern Threat Center and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are providing funding for an Eastern Threat Center staff member to conduct research in close collaboration with partners (listed above). Data are shared among collaborators and will be published as peer-reviewed articles or eventually deposited on the Eastern Threat Center's website.

STATUS: Ongoing

PROGRESS: A large database is being built with the University of North Carolina Asheville's National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC).

Nunez-Mir, G.C., A.M. Liebhold, Q. Guo, E.G. Brockerhoff, I. Jo, K. Ordonez, and S. Fei. 2017. Biotic resistance in forest ecosystems: facts, artifacts, and moving forward. Biological Invasions 19:3287-3299. (PDF)

Riitters, K., K. Potter, B. Iannone III, C. Oswalt, S. Fei, and Q. Guo. 2018. Landscape correlates of forest plant invasions: A high-resolution analysis across the eastern United States. Diversity and Distributions 24:274-284. (PDF)

Iannone III, B., K.M. Potter, Q.F. Guo, A.M. Liebhold 4, B.C. Pijanowski, C. Oswalt. And S.L. Fei, 2016. Biological invasion hotspots: a trait-based perspective reveals new sub-continental patterns. Ecography 39:961–969. (PDF)

Iannone III, B., C. Oswalt, A. Liebhold, Q.F. Guo, K.M. Potter, G.C. Nunex-Mir, S.N. Oswalt, B. C. Pijanowski, and S.L. Fei. 2015. Region-specific patterns and drivers of macroscale forest plant invasions. Diversity and Distributions 21:1181–1192. (PDF)

Guo, Q.F., S.L. Fei, J.S. Dukes, C. Oswalt, B.V. Iannone III, and K.M. Potter. 2015. A unified approach for quantifying invasibility and degree of invasion. Ecology 96(10):2613-2621. (PDF)

Guo, Q.F. 2015. Island biogeography theory: emerging patterns and human effects. Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. (PDF)

Guo, Q.F. 2014. Central-marginal population dynamics during species invasions. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 2:23. (PDF)

Guo, Q.F. 2014. Species invasions on islands: searching for general patterns and principles. Landscape Ecology 29:1123–1131. (PDF)

Guo, Q.F. 2014. Plant hybridization: the role of human disturbance and exotic invasion. Diversity and Distributions 20:1345–1354. (PDF)

Yuan, S., H. Ren, N. Liu, J. Wang, Q.F. Guo. 2012. Can thinning of overstory trees and planting of native tree saplings increase the establishment of native trees in exotic Acacia plantations in South China? Journal of Tropical Forest Science 25(1):79-95. (PDF)

Guo, Q.F. and S.P. Norman. 2012. Improve restoration to control plant invasions under climate change. Pages 201-214 in S. Jose, H. Singh, D. Batish, and R. Kohli, eds. Invasive Plant Ecology. CRC Press, Boca Raton.

Guo, Q.F. 2011. Counting “exotics”. NeoBiota 9:71–73. (PDF)

Li, Z.Y., Q. Dong, T.P. Albright and Q.F. Guo. 2011. Natural and human dimensions of a quasi-wild species: the case of kudzu. Biological Invasions 13:2167–2179. (PDF)

Qian, H. and Q. Guo. 2010. Linking biotic homogenization to habitat type, invasiveness and growth form of naturalized alien plants in North America. Diversity & Distributions 16:119-125. (PDF)

Hai R., H. Lu, W. Shen, C. Huang, Q.F. Guo, Z. Li, and S.G. Jian. 2009. Sonneratia apetala in mangrove ecosystems in China - invasive species or restoration species? Ecological Engineering 35:1243-1248. (PDF)

Ricklefs, Robert E.; Guo, Qinfeng; and Hong Qian. 2008. Growth form and distribution of introduced plants in their native and non-native ranges in Eastern Asia and North America. Diversity and Distributions 14: 381-386. (PDF)


Related articles from CompassLive:

"Native Trees Naturally Fight Invasives in Some Eastern Forests"

"NSF Grant Funds New Understanding of Plant Invasions at Larger Scales"

CONTACT: Qinfeng Guo, Eastern Threat Center Research Ecologist, or 919-549-4043

Updated June 2018

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