Event Title

Modelling Forest Community Outcomes and Population Dynamics of an Invasive Species, Common Buckthorn

Presenter Information

Andrew Mealor, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Diamond 153

Start Date

1-5-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 2:50 PM

Project Type

Presentation

Description

Invasive species are capable of devastating ecosystems and out competing native species. These effects might not be limited to the current native community and could impact future community structure. The extent to which an invasive species can impact a native community is not determined by its reproductive ability or hardiness alone, but also by its life stage dependent traits. In my study I use both community based and population-based models to predict the effect of the invasive shrub Rhamnus cathartica on forest succession in Maine. R. cathartica, or common buckthorn, is able to grow in sun or shade and can out-compete other plants through over-shading or by releasing allelopathic chemicals. Forest succession is the directional change in forest species composition with time and is highly sensitive to disturbances. The presence of an aggressive invasive species such as bucktorn could impact forest succession by excluding certain species while letting others flourish. I use a Markov community matrix model to predict the climax state of forests based on data I collected from both invaded and non-invaded sites within the Colby Arboretum. This model uses spatial information regarding the proximity of current species to determine the likelihood that one species will be replaced by another. I use a Lefkovitch population matrix to model the life history of buckthorn in order to determine the life stage that has the largest impact on its growth rate. Targeting this life stage could be an effective management strategy, and potentially slow or prevent the impacts of buckthorn on forest succession.

Faculty Sponsor

Cathy Bevier

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Biology Dept.

CLAS Field of Study

Natural Sciences

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

492

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May 1st, 1:00 PM May 1st, 2:50 PM

Modelling Forest Community Outcomes and Population Dynamics of an Invasive Species, Common Buckthorn

Diamond 153

Invasive species are capable of devastating ecosystems and out competing native species. These effects might not be limited to the current native community and could impact future community structure. The extent to which an invasive species can impact a native community is not determined by its reproductive ability or hardiness alone, but also by its life stage dependent traits. In my study I use both community based and population-based models to predict the effect of the invasive shrub Rhamnus cathartica on forest succession in Maine. R. cathartica, or common buckthorn, is able to grow in sun or shade and can out-compete other plants through over-shading or by releasing allelopathic chemicals. Forest succession is the directional change in forest species composition with time and is highly sensitive to disturbances. The presence of an aggressive invasive species such as bucktorn could impact forest succession by excluding certain species while letting others flourish. I use a Markov community matrix model to predict the climax state of forests based on data I collected from both invaded and non-invaded sites within the Colby Arboretum. This model uses spatial information regarding the proximity of current species to determine the likelihood that one species will be replaced by another. I use a Lefkovitch population matrix to model the life history of buckthorn in order to determine the life stage that has the largest impact on its growth rate. Targeting this life stage could be an effective management strategy, and potentially slow or prevent the impacts of buckthorn on forest succession.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2014/program/54