Friday , July 30 2021

Weed invaders are getting faster and faster

climate change

Credit: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

Dr. Daniel Montesinos is a senior researcher at the Australian Tropical Herbarium at James Cook University in Cairns. He is studying weeds to better understand (among other things) how they can respond to climate change.

He said most invasive plants are characterized by their fast pace when it comes to getting nutrients, growing and reproducing, and are even faster in invading regions.

“New experiments comparing populations from distant regions show a clear tendency for already rapidly invasive plants to adapt quickly to even faster traits in their non-native regions,” said Drs. Montesinos.

This is further manifested in the tropics and subtropics.

“While the growth rates of invaders are already among the highest for plants, when they invade new territory in the tropics and subtropics, they develop these weed traits more quickly than when they invade in temperate climates,” he said. Dr. Montesinos. .

“This could be explained by higher chemical processing at higher temperatures, which suggests that global warming will increase invasive impacts in these regions, as long as there is enough water available.”

Dr. Montesinos said invasive plants usually take up land that has been disturbed by human intervention (e.g., farms and roadside) and then spread to other habitats.

“It is important to recognize disturbed habitats as a gateway for plant invasions,” said Drs. Montesinos. “If we can limit the disruption of natural environments, we can reduce biological invasions, especially in tropical areas that are threatened by increased human invasion.”

Dr. Montesinos said expanding the range for native species trying to “flee” climate change could be an additional complication. This involves climate change that allows some native plants to grow where they previously could not.

“This can be seen as a double-edged sword: some native species will survive climate change, but could do so by altering the habitats of others.

“The study of invasion ecology is complex, but invasive species can be models for studying and making predictions about native plants’ responses to climate change, giving us clues about improved management techniques for both natives. as for the invaders, “said Dr. Montesinos said.

Mediterranean and tropical biodiversity most vulnerable to human pressures

More information:
Daniel Montesinos et al, Rapid invasives become faster: invasive plants are largely aligned with the fast side of the economic spectrum of plants, Journal of Ecology (2021). DOI: 10.1111 / 1365-2745.13616

Provided by James Cook University

Citation: Weed Invaders Are Faster (2021, March 15) Retrieved March 15, 2021 at

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