Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Scientist predicts climate change weed spread

Scientist predicts climate change weed spread


New research from the University of Auckland shows invasive tropical and sub-tropical plants that displace native species could thrive and spread if global temperatures rise as climate scientists predict.

Plant ecology PhD student Christine Sheppard from the University’s Centre for Biodiversity and Biosecurity, School of Biological Sciences, used bioclimatic models to investigate future potential distributions of potential new weeds already invasive in other countries: Bangalow Palm, Queensland Umbrella Tree and common Guava.

Field trials with seedlings grown in six sites across the country to test model predictions found introduced plants currently limited to northern New Zealand may not only spread further south, but often grow more vigorously compared to closely-related native plants.

“The results show that we need to worry about the fact that climate change will mean introduced plants, particularly those that have come from tropical or sub-tropical climates, become a bigger problem,” Christine says.

As one of the first studies directly testing bioclimatic models, the results increase confidence in the models’ ability to assess invasion risk, work that could help with the war on weeds.

Around 25,000 plants have been introduced to New Zealand. Of those, more than 2,000 have naturalised (become self-sustaining populations in the wild). But Christine says that if management measures are taken at an early stage of the naturalisation process, the cost-benefit ratio will be high.

“We can never eliminate all introduced or invasive plants but we can improve the way we manage them and one way to do that is to be able to predict which species will be the next big weed species.”

A native of Switzerland, Christine feels passionately about New Zealand’s natural environment, the main reason she chose to do her doctoral studies here.

“New Zealand has a major problem with invasive weeds affecting native plants and environments and because I feel passionately about conservation, and New Zealand’s unique environment, then that is what got me started on this research.”

The results of the study, co-authored by Christine’s PhD supervisors Dr Margaret Stanley and Dr Bruce Burns, will be published in the journal Global Change Biology.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Superu Report: Land Regulation Drives Auckland House Prices

Land use regulation is responsible for up to 56 per cent of the cost of an average house in Auckland according to a new research report quantifying the impact of land use regulations, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>

ALSO:

Fletcher Whittled: Fletcher Dumps Adamson In Face Of Dissatisfaction

Fletcher Building has taken the unusual step of dumping its chief executive, Mark Adamson, as the company slashed its full-year earnings guidance and flagged an impairment against Australian assets. More>>

ALSO:

No More Dog Docking: New Animal Welfare Regulations Progressed

“These 46 regulations include stock transport, farm husbandry, companion and working animals, pigs, layer hens and the way animals are accounted for in research, testing and teaching.” More>>

ALSO:

Employment: Most Kiwifruit Contractors Breaking Law

A Labour Inspectorate operation targeting the kiwifruit industry in Bay of Plenty has found the majority of labour hire contractors are breaching their obligations as employers. More>>

ALSO:

'Work Experience': Welfare Group Opposes The Warehouse Workfare

“This programme is about exploiting unemployed youth, not teaching them skills. The government are subsidising the Warehouse in the name of reducing benefit dependency,” says Vanessa Cole, spokesperson for Auckland Action Against Poverty. More>>

ALSO:

Internet Taxes: Labour To Target $600M In Unpaid Taxes From Multinationals

The Labour Party would target multinationals operating in New Zealand to ensure they don't avoid paying tax if it wins power and is targeting $600 million over three years through a "diverted profits tax," says leader Andrew Little. More>>

ALSO: