Invasive Escaped Ornamental Impatiens Prospects for new varieties

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					      Eric J. von Wettberg
      Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island




  Invasive Escaped Ornamental Impatiens: Prospects for new varieties and better control
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Distribution of Impatiens
  Environmental Issue                                                                         Scientific Approach                                                                                                                       glandulifera in New England.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Because the seeds float, the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        potential for future invasion
    •Invasive species cause over $137 Billlion in                                                                                                                                                                                       down the coast of Maine, and
                                                                                              •Hypothesis: Population differentiation is an important
    damages and losses in the US                                                              factor allowing escape out of gardens into harsher uncultivated                                                                           down the Housatonic
    -Invasive species, or environmental weeds, are exotic species                             areas. If it is, it can be used as a factor to make control more                                                                          watershed in Ma and Ct is a
    that spread after introduction to a new area.                                             efficient and as a way to develop safer new varieties.                                                                                    concern. But, because the
    -Invasive species are also a threat to ecosystems and native                                                                                                                                                                        invasion has just begun in the
    species. Nearly 50% of the 100 rarest plants in New England                               •Research Plan:                                                                                                                           Northeast -- early action can
    are threatened by invasive species.                                                                                                                                                                                                 stop it.
                                                                                              Measure population differentiation
    •Many invasive plants are escaped                                                         -I have developed molecular finger-printing markers (AFLPs) to
                                                                                                                                                                                         Impact on Conservation and
                                                                                              measure gene flow and population differentiation.
    ornamentals
    -Garden environments are forgiving to plants, with abundant
                                                                                              -I will grow plants in the greenhouse to measure morphological
                                                                                              differentiation and plasticity to varying shade conditions.
                                                                                                                                                                                         Horticulture
    resources, and can be sources for seeds or propagules that
                                                                                                                                                                                         •Conservation in New England
    disperse into native ecosystems and conservation land.                                    Examine seed dispersal potential                                                           -Raising awareness of this invasion with land managers
    -The horticultural industry produces and disperses enormous                               -Impatiens glandulifera seeds float, and this may be an
    numbers of plants. The hundred million dollar Impatiens                                                                                                                              increases the prospects of early detection and control of new
                                                                                              important factor in developing regional control strategies.                                infestations. I have begun discussions with the Berkshire, MA
    industry distributes millions of plants. Most ornamental                                  -All populations in proximity of a watershed must be removed
    Impatiens are not weeds, but some individuals of all varieties                                                                                                                       TNC and Vindalhaven, ME Landtrust to begin wider sampling.
                                                                                              because seeds from one population can recolonize areas
    have escaped, and policeman’s helmet (Impatiens glandulifera)                             where control efforts are attempted.
    is highly invasive in temperate regions of Europe and North                                                                         An infestation of Impatiens
                                                                                                                                                                                         •Horticultural Industry
    America.                                                                                                                            glandulifera, Policeman’s                        -Studies I have begun this fall on the ability of seeds to float
                                                                                                                                        Helmet or Himalayan                              may find natural variants unable to float or disperse well.
    •More information is needed to develop                                                                                              Balsam. This is the most                         These would be safer ornamentals than the currently
                                                                                                                                        invasive of the ornamental                       commercially available policeman’s helmet.
    viable control strategies and safer
                                                                                                                                        Impatiens, and has caused
    ornamental varieties                                                                                                                considerable damage in
                                                                                                                                                                                         Other invasions
    -Information is lacking on dispersal distances and degree of                                                                        Europe where it is also                          -Understanding this invasion will increase our ability to predict
    population differentiation in escaped ornamental populations.                                                                       invasive. These                                  and control other invasions
    -The horticulture industry requires good information to develop                                                                     monspecific stands reduce                        -Understanding what makes Impatiens glandulifera a good
    new varieties with less invasive potential than many popular                                                                        native biodiversity.                             invader may help explain why most Impatiens are not common
    current varieties.                                                                                                                                                                   invaders
For more information visit http://www.brown.edu/Departments/EEB/graduate/evw.htm or contact Eric_von_Wettberg@brown.edu; Thanks to NSF DDIG, SICB, and Brown University for additional funding; and Johanna Schmitt; Novem Auyeung, Lisa Mandle, and Nava Tabak for assistance
                                                                                            Eric_von_Wettberg@brown.edu

				
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posted:3/22/2013
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