Faculty Mentor

Ava Howard




Invasive species are known to have harmful effects on many ecosystems and show rapid growth and reproduction rates. One possible way for a plant to maximize its growth rate is to have a high specific leaf area (SLA) but few studies have looked at SLA differences in ecological and taxonomically related invasive and native species. In a common garden setting, I studied SLA differences between phylogenetically related invasive Himalayan blackberry (Rubus armeniacus) and native Pacific blackberry (Rubus ursinus). In both species area and weight of leaf blades were closely related and SLA was not different between the invasive and native blackberry. Also the results indicate that inclusion of the petiole, rachis and petiolule does not make the SLA data variable when compared to only the compound leaf blades. These results lead me to believe that there are other factors that may contribute to the success of invasive blackberries.






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