Study: Invasive species kills soil fungus

Apr 25, 2006

U.S. scientists, part of an international research team, say hardwood trees are being harmed by an invasive weed spreading across the nation.

The weed harms native maples, ashes and other hardwood trees by releasing chemicals that kill a soil fungus the trees depend on for growth and survival.

The tree-stifling alien, garlic mustard -- Alliaria petiolata -- was first introduced into the eastern United States in the 1860s. It since has spread into Canada and 30 states in the East and Midwest, with recent sightings as far west as Oregon.

While many mechanisms have been proposed to explain the success of invasive species, the new study is the first to determine an invasive plant harms native plants by thwarting the biological "friends" upon which they depend for growth.

The study was conducted by researchers at Harvard University, the University of Guelph, the University of Montana, Purdue University, and the UFZ Center for Environmental Research in Germany.

The research appears in the current issue of the Public Library of Science.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Scientists seen as competent but not trusted by Americans

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Galapagos invasion is global warning

Sep 03, 2014

A new study led by a PhD researcher at The University of Western Australia has revealed that parts of the iconic Galapagos Islands have been overrun by invasive plants from other parts of the world.

The devastating spread of the mountain pine beetle

Aug 27, 2014

When the mountain pine beetle began blazing a path across forests in British Columbia and Alberta, nobody could have imagined the extent of the damage to come. But as the insect devastated pine forests and ...

Invasive insect threatens iconic Florida citrus

Aug 24, 2014

The tourists stream to Florida in their cars, intent on a week at Disney or a sugar-sand seashore or a nonstop party on South Beach. Road weary and thirsty, they pull over at one of the state's five official ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0