Murray State University

Poster Title

Testing the Roles of Family Membership and Species Native Origin in Intentional Plant Introductions using Nursery Data in Kentucky

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

Biological invasions frequently bring about negative impacts on natural ecosystems, including changing their structure and function and causing loss of biodiversity. A large percentage of invasive species are introduced intentionally as horticulture plants by the green industry. Currently, there is a lack of specific information on non-native and invasive plants in the state of Kentucky, especially concerning species origin, taxonomic affinity, and the pathway of species introduction. This study is designed to gather information about plant species found in nurseries across the state of Kentucky to test the hypothesis that species belonging to certain families and coming from particular geographical regions may have a higher possibility to be introduced into new locations as horticulture plants. By identifying and recording 462 species in 101 families and 258 genera from twenty-two nurseries statewide, we discovered that the possibility for a species to be introduced as horticulture plant significantly relates to its native origin and family membership; non-native plant species, especially those with eastern Asian origins, are carried most by nurseries in general. Our results suggest that native origin and family membership of plant species could be used as an effective indicator in identifying the pool of potentially invasive species in the future. Our findings confirm that nurseries have been a major pathway of non-native plants introductions. Most importantly, our study points out the critical needs for having informed and educated personnel in the green industry, so that invasive exotic species will not be introduced in the first place.

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Testing the Roles of Family Membership and Species Native Origin in Intentional Plant Introductions using Nursery Data in Kentucky

Biological invasions frequently bring about negative impacts on natural ecosystems, including changing their structure and function and causing loss of biodiversity. A large percentage of invasive species are introduced intentionally as horticulture plants by the green industry. Currently, there is a lack of specific information on non-native and invasive plants in the state of Kentucky, especially concerning species origin, taxonomic affinity, and the pathway of species introduction. This study is designed to gather information about plant species found in nurseries across the state of Kentucky to test the hypothesis that species belonging to certain families and coming from particular geographical regions may have a higher possibility to be introduced into new locations as horticulture plants. By identifying and recording 462 species in 101 families and 258 genera from twenty-two nurseries statewide, we discovered that the possibility for a species to be introduced as horticulture plant significantly relates to its native origin and family membership; non-native plant species, especially those with eastern Asian origins, are carried most by nurseries in general. Our results suggest that native origin and family membership of plant species could be used as an effective indicator in identifying the pool of potentially invasive species in the future. Our findings confirm that nurseries have been a major pathway of non-native plants introductions. Most importantly, our study points out the critical needs for having informed and educated personnel in the green industry, so that invasive exotic species will not be introduced in the first place.