Using a community assembly framework to increase resistance to biological invasions in temperate forests
Invasive plant species are an imminent threat to the long-term persistence of temperate forests, their management is costly and labor-intensive but rarely effective. Conventional approaches in the study and management of invasions focus on the invasive species only, neglecting features of affected community that could promote resistance to invasion. In my research, I use ecological principles of plant community assemblage to investigate when and how temperate forests are more resistant to invasive species. Specifically, I investigate whether the lack of usage of available resources (empty niches) by natives facilitate the initial invasion process, and whether natives’ early arrival (priority effects) could curtail re-invasion after management. I tackle these issues by using a three-pronged approach: quantitative literature review, collection of observational data, and field experiment. By advancing the knowledge on the mechanisms driving forest resistance, my research provides information for better conservation of and a less impactful management of natural resources.
This presentation was given to the Ecology and Evolutionary Department (EEB) virtual seminar at the University of Michigan in December of 2020.
Here, I tackle the overarching question of my Ph.D. "How can native forests be more resistant to invasive plants?" and the different ways I am trying to approach it.