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: How were fossil tracks made by Early Triassic swimming reptiles so well preserved?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The winter-to-spring cankerworm cycle

Feb 10, 2015

It is the time of the year when you might be thinking of snuggling up with hot chocolate and your favorite book, but female cankerworm moths are hard at work – laying the foundation for an invasion that ...

Emerald ash borer confirmed as threat to white fringetree

Jan 15, 2015

The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), also known as EAB, is an invasive insect pest from Asia that has killed millions of trees in the United States and Canada and has caused billions of dollars of dam ...

Recommended for you

Predicting human crowds with statistical physics

Feb 27, 2015

For the first time researchers have directly measured a general law of how pedestrians interact in a crowd. This law can be used to create realistic crowds in virtual reality games and to make public spaces safer.

Bribery 'hits 1.6 billion people a year'

Feb 27, 2015

A total of 1.6 billion people worldwide – nearly a quarter of the global population – are forced to pay bribes to gain access to everyday public services, according to a new book by academics at the Universities of Birmingham ...

Broken windows thesis springs a leak

Feb 27, 2015

The broken windows theory posits that minor misdemeanors, like littering or graffiti spraying, stimulate more serious anti-social behavior. LMU sociologists now argue that the idea is flawed and does not ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.