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Harvard Forest REU Symposium Abstract 2019

  • Title: The effects of Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) extract on Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower) physiology
  • Author: Jaymes Marburger (Kent State University)
  • Abstract:

    Invasive species are thriving under global climate change where nitrogen concentrations and soil temperatures are rising and projected to increase. A limited amount of research has been done on the physiological responses of invasive plants. This knowledge is crucial for making predictions about future biogeographical shifts of invasive species and their potential contribution to changes in community composition/ecosystem services. Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) is an allelopathic invader dominating forest understories throughout the U.S. This herbaceous plant is believed to be augmented by climate change, thus enhancing its ability to disrupt arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) of native plants. Obtaining a liquid extract from A. petiolata that has been subjected to soil warming and nitrogen treatments, we exposed the native perennial Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower) to these allelopathic chemicals firsthand. Using a LI-6400, we were able to discern that A. petiolata extract alone reduces the average photosynthetic rate of M. canadense (p<0.05) , but A. petiolata extract from plants with added nitrogen increased mean M. canadense photosynthesis (p<0.05). The result that A. petiolata can inhibit the physiology of a native plants matches previous research findings. However, the increased photosynthetic rate of M. canadense from A. petiolata exposed to additional nitrogen may be due to the loss of AMF through this treatment while gaining extra nutrients instead. Our results indicate that further research should be conducted to explore the role of possible AMF loss to clarify the indirect effects of A. petiolata on the physiology M. canadense.

  • Research Category: Conservation and Management; Invasive Plants, Pests & Pathogens; Physiological Ecology, Population Dynamics, and Species Interactions