In many countries, invasive plants continue to increase in number and exert adverse effects on people and their environments. This problem can be addressed by identifying invasive plants before they become invasive and by acting quickly when invasions begin to manifest. The efficacy of germination characteristics in predicting which commonly planted woody angiosperm species are invasive was evaluated by testing differences among 30-day germination responses for 39 species of known invasive status in 13 phylogenetic contrasts under four different treatment scenarios in a growth chamber set to approximate California’s spring climate. No significant differences in germination response were detected between more and less invasive species across all treatments suggesting that germination response may be a poor predictor of invasiveness for woody angiosperms commonly planted in California. Dormancy and the role of light and stratification in promoting germination are discussed and specific recommendations are made for future studies utilizing germination characteristics to predict invasiveness. Additionally, an in depth study of the invasion potential of Chinese tallowtree, a known invader in the southeast United States now naturalizing in California, was conducted by examining the barriers to reproduction, dispersal, germination, and early seedling growth in California’s Central Valley. Only seedling survivorship seemed to limit Chinese tallowtree’s potential habitat in field studies conducted at Putah Creek. A survey of individuals at a naturalizing population at North Davis Pond in Davis, California revealed large numbers of seedlings, most of which were immediately next to perennial water and able to survive the harshest period of drought. Chinese tallowtree may colonize many riparian habitats in California’s Central Valley as outlined in climate models, but local distribution will likely be limited by seedling drought tolerance. Several recommendations for the management of Chinese tallowtree are made.
|Commitee:||Berry, Alison M., Randall, John M., Rejmanek, Marcel|
|School:||University of California, Davis|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 48/04M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Plant biology, Ecology, Environmental science|
|Keywords:||California, Chinese tallow, Germination, Invasive plant, Putah Creek, Triadica sebifera|
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