The impact of multiple-species plant invasion on local and landscape-level diversity
Megvalósítás alatt lévő/Futó projekt
Biological invasions are among the most significant challenges facing humanity today. Due to the proliferation of long-distance travel and the destruction of habitats, species originally introduced from remote areas are increasingly settling worldwide in habitats where they have never been observed before. Once established, some species begin to spread spontaneously and may even become highly abundant. An alien species which becomes dominant can fundamentally change the characteristics of an ecosystem, including the loss or alteration of diversity and the goods/services it provides. Often, not one but several alien species become dominant simultaneously in a native ecosystem – this is called multi-species invasion. In this case, the question arises as to how the combined effect of multiple non-native species changes the diversity and functioning of communities. Do the effects of the individual invasive species add up, reinforce or extinguish each other?
The fundamental question of the research is how the vegetation of grasslands and fallows changes as a result of invasion by several alien species. I will examine how (i) the different degrees of coverage of Asclepias syriaca and Solidago canadensis, S. gigantea affect fine-scale diversity separately and in combination, and (ii) how the characteristics of native species occurring on invaded and non-invaded patches differ in the case of different alien species, and (iii) how community diversity changes at landscape-scale as a result of multiple invasions. The results will provide essential insights into the processes of invasions and provide a professional basis for dealing with ecosystems threatened by invasive species.