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Scholars Day: April 10, 2013

Relating Soil Fertility and Plant Competition to Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica L.) Invasion Success

Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn) is an invasive shrub or tree that can decrease native plant abundance directly through competition and indirectly by altering soil nutrient cycling and decomposition. Buckthorn seedlings have higher mortality rates when grown under native herbaceous plants; however, the inhibitory effects of native competitors may diminish in low fertility environments. In this project, the combined effects of competition and soil fertility on buckthorn growth are investigated. Buckthorn seedlings were transplanted into experimental plots in which three levels of competition were combined in a factorial design with three levels of soil fertility. The plots were established in meadow, shrubland, and forest habitats in six locations throughout western New York. Buckthorn growth rates will be measured throughout the 2013 growing season. When completed, this research will be used to determine how competitive ability and soil fertility interact to influence buckthorn invasion success in order to improve buckthorn management strategies.

Presenter: Julia York (Graduate Student)
Topic: Environmental Science
Location: 218 Hartwell
Time: 11 am (Session II)
Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.