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Abstract Detail

Ecological Section

Komiskey, Emily H. [1], Jones, Cynthia S. [2].

Specific Leaf Area and Xylem Density Differ in Native and Invasive Connecticut Shrubs.

The abundance of invasive plants is becoming an increasing conservation concern in the northeastern United States and elsewhere. As a result, study of the biology of these organisms is of paramount importance. Approximately 18% of the plants listed by the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England are shrubs. The biology of this functional group, however, is understudied from the invasive perspective. Both specific leaf area (SLA) and xylem density have been shown to be important functional traits in woody plants. We hypothesized that these two traits would be inversely correlated across both native and invasive shrubs and that invasive shrubs would have higher SLAs and lower xylem densities than native shrubs. Leaf and stem samples were taken from all shrubs along fourteen 30-meter transects in three habitats: open, edge, and forest interior. All shrubs encountered were deciduous. Results indicated a negative correlation between SLA and xylem density across all species. Shrubs in all three habitats differed significantly in SLA, with shrubs in the forest interior having the highest SLA. There was no difference in xylem density for plants in different habitats. Contrary to our expectations, invasive plants had lower mean SLA and higher mean xylem density than natives in all habitats. These results suggest that invasive plants function differently than natives in the invaded habitats and may give insight into why they are able to persist in locales in which they did not evolve.

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1 - University of Connecticut, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 75 N. Eagleville Road, Unit 3043, Storrs, CT, 06269, USA
2 - University of Connecticut, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 75 North Eagleville Road, U-3043, Storrs, Connecticut, 062693043, USA

Invasive plants
xylem density

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: CP09
Location: Lake Ontario/Hilton
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2007
Time: 10:45 AM
Number: CP09003
Abstract ID:1278

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