Anthony Brusa


Ph.D. Candidate






Effects of environmental factors on clonality of invasive plants



My research focuses primarily on understanding the effects of environmental conditions on the spread of non-native plant species. Plants are extremely flexible with their methods of reproduction. Although everyone is familiar with flowers and seeds, plants often use asexual methods of reproduction as well. These alternate methods require allocation of resources to different parts of the plant, and greater understanding of this process is vital to predicting and controlling the spread of non-native species.

As a small scale parallel to my fieldwork, I have utilized the greenhouse to experimentally manipulate growing conditions. I worked with Trifolium repens (white clover), rapidly growing and extremely hardy plant, easily propagated through cuttings. It produces its distinctive white flowers, but also produces horizontal stems capable of asexual reproduction. By manipulating resource distributions I have been able to alter the ratio of resource allocation between sexual and asexual organs. This is evidence that, under controlled conditions, plants are capable of altering their reproductive strategies in response to local conditions.





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Last modified: 08/29/2013