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Invasive plants show more plasticity than native plants Irene Weber University of Washington HHMI Integrative Research Internship
What is an invasive plant? Invasive plants are introduced species that can thrive in areas beyond their natural range of dispersal. These plants are characteristically adaptable, aggressive, and have a high reproductive capacity. USDA National Invasive Species Information Center
Why do some plants invade? • Ability to reproduce sexually and asexually • Rapid growth • High tolerance of heterogeneity • Predator release • Phenotypic plasticity in changing environments Baker 1965 Sakeital 2001
What is Plasticity? Plant showing plasticity Poor plasticity Full sun conditions Shade conditions
Plasticity in Invasive Species Invasive Species Non Invasive Species Rumex acetosella vs. Rumex venosus
Stomatal Index SI=((number of stomata)/(total cells: stomata + epidermal)) x 100 ((6)/(6+34))x100 = 15
Hypotheses Pre-industrial stomatal index Stomatal index today Invasive Native
Results Rumex venosusy = -0.0208x + 55.504 R2 = 0.1351 Rumex acetosellay = -0.0264x + 63.985R2 = 0.2013
Stomatal Index% Decrease Invasive Species Rumex acetosella 22% SI decrease Native Species Rumex venosus 14% SI decrease
Conclusions • The invasive plant shows a greater overall change in stomatal index than the native • The invasive plant had a greater rate of change than the native plant
Discussion • This shows a difference in the way that these two species respond in correlation with CO2 increases in the atmosphere • This is evidence for the plasticity theory of invasive species
Future Directions • Does this trend hold up for other plants? • Is this purely due to plasticity or is there a microevolution effect?
Acknowledgements University of Washington HHMI Integrative Research Internship Janneke Hille Ris Lambers, UW Department of Biology Soo-Hyung Kim and Nicole Hackman, UW College of Forest Resources UW Herbarium and the OSU Herbarium Questions?