UI Center for Research on Invasive Species and Small Populations UI Center for Research on Invasive Species and Small Populations University of Idaho College of Natural Resources University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Image Map
Aug 072012
 
Cheatgrass colonizing the edge of a burn near the Weiser River in Idaho.

Cheatgrass colonizing the edge of a burn near the Weiser River in Idaho.

Title: Cheatgrass Project
Student: Melissa Baynes [PhD student], and Joyce Sun [MS student]
Collaborators: Dr. Timothy Prather
Department: Forest Resources

Project Summary

We have discovered fungi that can reduce the growth of cheatgrass.

For more information, email the PI: Dr. George Newcombe

 August 7, 2012
Aug 072012
 
Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe)

Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe) east of Missoula, Montana. Photo courtesy of Norman E. Rees, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

Title: Knapweed Project
Students: Alexey Shipunov [Postdoctoral Research Associate now at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution], Anil Raghavendra [PhD candidate]
Summer Intern: Maryse Crawford
Collaborators: Dr. Cort Anderson, Dr. Timothey Prather, Dr. Sanford Eigenbrode, Dr. Mark Schwarzlaender, Dr. Ray Callaway
Department: Forest Resources

Project summary

Invasiveness may be the result of ‘novel weapons’ that aid an introduced plant to outcompete evolutionarily naïve neighbours in its new range. Roots of Eurasian species of Centaurea are thought to produce allelochemicals that function as novel weapons in North America. However, a series of three experiments suggested that fungal endophytes that naturally established in seedling roots could have been confounded with novel weapons. In the first two experiments, endophtyes in roots of C. stoebe significantly reduced the biomass of naïve neighbours (i.e., Festuca idahoensis plants), compared to the effect of endophyte-free C. stoebe on F. idahoensis. For the third experiment, relative abundances of endophytes of C. stoebe in both its native and invaded ranges were determined so that representatives of the six most common haplotypes, three from each range, could be employed as root inoculants. In general, each of these endophytes again reduced the growth of naïve neighbours (i.e., Festuca idahoensis); remarkably, each also increased the growth of adapted neighbours (i.e., Festuca ovina) that were tested for the first time. Four of the six endophytes caused C. stoebe to gain a competitive advantage over its naïve neighbour that was significantly greater than the competitive advantage of endophyte-free C. stoebe over that same neighbour. Endophyte-free C. stoebe had no greater competitive advantage over F. idahoensis than it had over F. ovina. By aiding an invasive plant against F. idahoensis in a cryptic manner, endophytes could be confounded with novel weapons. However, without evidence that these endophytes are themselves native to Eurasia, it is premature to assert that they are themselves novel weapons.

For more information, email the PI: Dr. George Newcombe

 August 7, 2012
Aug 072012
 

Title: Exploring Feasibility of Proposed Control Strategies for New Zealand Mud Snails at Fish Hatcheries
Student: Rolita Louise Bruce and Jordan Nielson
Department:Fish & Wildlife Resources

Project summary

The New Zealand mud snail is an invasive species that affects rivers and streams throughout the United States. Fish movement through stocking regimes have been documented as likely vectors of spread through the gut of trout. R. Louse Bruce’s studies indicate that a portion of the New Zealand mud snail could survive transit in the intestinal track of rainbow trout. She found in several sizes of fish that 8-12% of the snails in the fish fecal material were alive and over time the snail survival decreased in the trout gastrointestinal tract.

For more information, email the PI: Dr. Christine Moffitt

New Zealand Mudsnails at hatchery.

New Zealand Mudsnails at hatchery. Photo courtesy of Christine Moffitt.

New Zealand Mudsnail

New Zealand Mudsnail

 August 7, 2012
Aug 072012
 
Larinus Minutus knapweed eating weevil

Larinus Minutus knapweed eating weevil

Title: The Invasive Species Project: Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea stoebe)
Department: Plant, Soil & Entomological Sciences (PSES), and Forest Resources

Project Summary

Spotted knapweed is one of Idaho’s most environmentally invasive and aggressive non-native plants. In previous greenhouse experiments we have shown that knapweed and its competitors are affected by endophytes in the absence of mycorrhizae. In addition, we have found that certain endophyte isolates differ in their susceptibility to attack by aphids and by the flower-feeding weevil Larinus minutes. This weevil has been released in North America for management of the biologically invasive Centaurea spp. The goal of this long-term project is to improve the management of invasive spotted knapweed; in this phase of the project, the REU student will test the relationship between C. stoebe and Larinus minutes, a weevil used for biological control of invasive plants.

For more information, email the PI: Dr. Sanford Eigenbrode

 August 7, 2012
Aug 072012
 
Meadow Hawkweed infestation near Santa, Idaho.

Meadow Hawkweed infestation near Santa, Idaho.

Title: Invasiveness of Hawkweeds in the Pacific Northwest: The Role of Their AMF, Mycorrhizal Partners.
Student: Melissa Baynes [PhD Student]
Summer Intern: Shantel Tank
Collaborators: Dr. Timothy Prather & Dr. Linda Wilson
Department: Forest Resources

Project Summary

We have discovered that the ability of meadow hawkweed, Hieracium caespitosum, to outcompete Idaho fescue, Festuca idahoensis, depends on feedback with mycorrhizal fungi.

For more information, email the PI: Dr. George Newcombe

 August 7, 2012
Aug 072012
 

Landscape Genetics Graduate Research ProjectTitle: Comparison of Methods for Sampling and Analyzing Spatial Structures in Landscape Genetics
Student: Niko Balkenhol
Department: Fish & Wildlife Resources

Project Summary:

Landscape genetics is a new and interdisciplinary research area that aims at detecting landscape influences on genetic diversity and structure. The number of landscape genetics studies is increasing rapidly, but most of the methods used for analyzing landscape genetic data have not been compared or evaluated.

In our project, we are evaluating the different analytical approaches using simulated data, and develop guidelines for optimal sampling and analysis. We are also analyzing various empirical data sets from Mongolian gazelles & wolves, cougars, etc.

In addition, we are collaborating with faculty members from other departments and colleges in interdisciplinary teaching efforts, and have given several landscape genetics workshops at international conferences.

For more information, email the Principle Investigator (PI): Dr. Lisette Waits

 August 7, 2012