Constraints on coastal dune invasion for a notorious plant invader

Coauthor Shuangxou Long conducts coastal dune community sampling near Wellfleet, MA with mature Bromus tectorum inflorescences in the foreground. (Photo credit: Alden Griffith)
Coauthor Shuangxou Long conducts coastal dune community sampling near Wellfleet, MA with mature Bromus tectorum inflorescences in the foreground. (Photo credit: Alden Griffith)

Although most biological invasions are not successful, relatively few studies have examined otherwise notorious invaders in systems where they are not highly problematic. The annual grass Bromus tectorum is a dominant invader in western North America, but is usually confined to human-dominated and disturbed systems (e.g. roadsides and parking lots) in the East where it remains virtually unstudied. In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS, Griffith et al. examined fundamental ecological questions regarding the distribution and abundance of B. tectorum in a coastal dune system on Cape Cod (USA) and found annual population growth to be highly variable (e.g. capable of ‘booms’ and ‘busts’). However, their results suggest that limitations to disturbance and seed dispersal likely constrain invasion in this ecosystem. Thus management actions that restrict dune access (e.g. for nesting habitat) will likely have the co-benefit of limiting the invasive potential of B. tectorum.

Reference List

Griffith, A. B., Ahmed, T., Hildner, A. L. G., Kuckreja, S., & Long, S. (2015). Constraints on coastal dune invasion for a notorious plant invader. AoB Plants, 7, plv126. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plv126