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A transcontinental biogeographic comparison of native and invasive dominants: are invasives indeed doing something different than natives?

GIN RCN member Kateřina Štajerová from the Czech Republic spent two months in the United States and Canada.

Kateřina Štajerová writes:

Katerina Stajerova in the field

Katerina Stajerova in the field

Thanks to GIN RCN travel grant, my flight ticket to North America has been covered this year. During this trip, I not only collected data at several field sites but also visited my collaborators Dana Blumenthal, Peter Kotanen (both of them are GIN RCN members as well), Ray Callaway and Diane Larson to discuss the results up to now and our future plans. A few other members of GIN RCN are involved in this project such as Petr Pyšek (my supervisor), Vojtěch Jarošík (co-supervisor), Martin Hejda and Urs Schaffner. Thanks to the support of GIN RCN in countless ways, our research group members could and still can very easily communicate and collaborate within such a remarkable project.

What do we do? Unlike other studies mostly interested in species that are rare in their native range but become abundant or even dominant when introduced to a new range, we focused on species that are dominant in both ranges. We assume, however, that their impacts in the native and invaded range would differ. We suppose that the fundamental difference might be in how resident plant communities in both ranges respond to their dominants and what their resilience is following disturbance. We tested this assumption by using a biogeographic comparison of three model (semi)grassland species (Cirsium arvense, Leucanthemum vulgare agg. and Tanacetum vulgare) native to Europe and invasive in North America.

For more info, visit our webpages http://www.ibot.cas.cz/invasions/index.htm


Special note from Kateřina:

Regretably, Vojta Jarosik, my co-supervisor, scientist by heart and profession, colleague and friend, passed away on 18th June 2013 after a long fight with cancer. It is strange that in the same day I was on my way to the US and while on a board he came often to my mind – the sad text message came almost immediately after my arrival. Anyway, I am very proud and grateful that I could collaborate with Vojta since I entered the Department of Ecology at the Charles University in Prague and the Department of Invasion Ecology at the Institute of Botany. The relatively short time I could spend with Vojta has always been a pleasure and fun. We all miss you, Vojta, but you will stay in our hearts forever.