Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Effects of Alliaria petiolata on Native Understory Plant Communities in a Central Illinois Pine Forest
by Faulkner, Alexander B., M.S., Bradley University, 2017, 89; 10683164
Abstract (Summary)

Land managers and researchers are currently concerned with expanding populations of invasive species across North America. Invasive species are non-native species, introduced intentionally or unintentionally to an environment, which have the potential to cause economic or ecological damage through modifications of biodiversity and structure of the resident community that it invades. While a great deal of attention has been given to the negative effects of non-natives, research regarding the community-level effects in native Illinois natural areas is limited at best. We address the issue of invasive species at the plant community level by assessing the impact that Eurasian native Alliaria petiolata (M. Bieb) Cavara and Grande (Brassicaceae) has on pine plantation understory communities at Sand Ridge State Forest (Mason County, IL). Alliaria petiolata is a biennial species possessing a multitude of characteristics that promote its success as an invasive plant across much of the United States. To properly evaluate the community-level response of Sand Ridge State Forest to invasion by garlic mustard, we experimentally invaded 72 plots with A. petiolata seeds or rosette transplants and subjected plots to different mineral nutrient amendments and management techniques. Alliaria petiolata population density was monitored over a 5-year period to evaluate the susceptibility of Sand Ridge State Forest to invasion, and a vegetative census was conducted to assess the effects of A. petiolata invasions on native understory plant communities using species richness (S), equitability (J), and the Shannon diversity index (H’) as indicators. We present evidence that A. petiolata densities significantly increased over time, and that altering nutrient availability or management practices do not differentially affect the success of invasive A. petiolata at Sand Ridge State Forest. Additionally, we found that A. petiolata invasions do result in reduced diversity in this system, however nitrogen availability and management practices can modulate diversity losses.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McConnaughay, Kelly D.
Commitee: Gehring, Janet L., Morris, Sherri J.
School: Bradley University
Department: Biology
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Biology, Ecology, Natural Resource Management
Keywords: Alliaria petiolata, Diversity indices, Garlic mustard, Illinois, Invasive species, Sand Ridge State Forest
Publication Number: 10683164
ISBN: 978-0-355-68740-8
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