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Scholars Day: April 7, 2010

Aliens Disrupt Community Dynamics at Cobb's Hill Park in Rochester, NY

The Washington Grove forest, at Cobb’s Hill Park in Rochester, NY, has been invaded by an invasive species. Here, the nonnative but commonly planted landscape tree Norway maple (Acer platanoides) is present, and previous research has found that this species can have a significant impact on the areas it inhabits. The Norway maple has been described as a prolific seed producer, shade tolerant, and a strong competitor for limiting resources. We hypothesized that the forest trajectory is shifting to a Norway maple dominated forest. In order to test this, the forest was surveyed at random points along four parallel transects. Analyzed were canopy and subcanopy trees, seedlings and saplings, herbaceous cover, and shrub cover. The forest subcanopy, along with the seedlings and saplings, found the Norway maple to be the most common. If this current trajectory continues, one of our local forests will be dominated by a non-native, invasive species, which may have additional ecological consequences than just lost species diversity.

Presenter: Justin Rogers (Graduate Student)
Topic: Environmental Science
Location: 102 Edwards
Time: 2:30 pm (Session IV)