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Ecosystem-level impact of invasive plants of the genus Impatiens

Heike Feldhaar1
1 University of Bayreuth

Keynote II in Keynotes

02.10.2014, 13:30-14:10, H36, NW III



Invasive alien species (IAS) are among the most significant drivers of environmental change worldwide, leading to ecological and socio-economical disruptions in the regions affected. Until recently the focus of studies in invasion biology has either been on the characteristics that promote invasiveness in a species or on invisibility of the ecosystems. Outcomes measuring the impact of a particular invasive species often vary among studies, as the impact may be context-dependent. In addition, measurements of impacts of IAS have concentrated on a few variables per species only. 

Several species of the plant genus Impatiens are spreading rapidly within Europe. Especially Impatiens glandulifera, the Himalayan balm, may have strong negative impacts on native ecosystems. Growth of native plants is hindered due to allelopathy, plant-pollinator networks are potentially disrupted and soil erosion processes in riparian habitats have been shown to be enhanced. Less is known on the impact of other Impatiens species. The genus Impatiens would be excellent model organisms for an in-depth study of the impact of IAS on the ecosystem-level, allowing comparison of impacts between sites as well as among congeneric species. The working groups within BayCEER have the expertise to perform such in-depth multi-site studies, which would elucidate on the one hand context-dependency of invasion success and impact and on the other hand result in a better mechanistic understanding how those impacts are mediated within ecosystems.

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last modified 2014-09-09