Murray State University

Poster Title

Uncovering the Mechanism of Plant Invasion by Employing a Comparative Biophysical Traits Study of Exotic (Lonicera japonica) and Native (Lonicera sempervirens) Honeysuckle Species

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

Biological invasion, one of the major processes of global change, is continuously rising in its intensity in the biota. With an estimated $137 billion annual deficit in the U.S. alone, an urgent need to understand this change and the factors influencing its severity are essential. In this study, we worked to understand what makes exotic invasive species superior to their native counterpart by targeting morphological, physiological, and reproductive traits of invasive (Lonicera japonica) and native (Lonicera sempervirens) honeysuckle species. By examining and comparing multiple traits of both species, we were able to test the hypothesis that invasive species outperform native species owing to their possession of suites of advantageous biophysical traits. Our preliminary results indicated that significant differences exist in both leaf morphological/physiological traits and reproductive characters. We concluded that combination of advantageous traits enable the invader to perform successfully in the invaded ecosystems. By identifying traits associated with invaders, further conservation methods can employ steps in saving native species from extinction.

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Uncovering the Mechanism of Plant Invasion by Employing a Comparative Biophysical Traits Study of Exotic (Lonicera japonica) and Native (Lonicera sempervirens) Honeysuckle Species

Biological invasion, one of the major processes of global change, is continuously rising in its intensity in the biota. With an estimated $137 billion annual deficit in the U.S. alone, an urgent need to understand this change and the factors influencing its severity are essential. In this study, we worked to understand what makes exotic invasive species superior to their native counterpart by targeting morphological, physiological, and reproductive traits of invasive (Lonicera japonica) and native (Lonicera sempervirens) honeysuckle species. By examining and comparing multiple traits of both species, we were able to test the hypothesis that invasive species outperform native species owing to their possession of suites of advantageous biophysical traits. Our preliminary results indicated that significant differences exist in both leaf morphological/physiological traits and reproductive characters. We concluded that combination of advantageous traits enable the invader to perform successfully in the invaded ecosystems. By identifying traits associated with invaders, further conservation methods can employ steps in saving native species from extinction.