Defense Date

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Rodney Dyer

Second Advisor

Donald Young

Third Advisor

James Mays

Fourth Advisor

J. Clifford Fox

Abstract

Introduction of invasive species can alter seed fate predictions made by the Janzen-Connell Escape Hypothesis (JCEH). The JCEH states that there is a suitable region around a plant that is ideal for seed germination, growth, and recruitment. Seeds dispersed too close to the maternal plant are subject to competition from the maternal individual and perhaps density-dependent predation, whereas seeds dispersed further away may end up in suboptimal habitats. Invasive species may change the amount of these suitable habitats for native plants by creating unsuitable light environments and as a result, may influence the size of the ideal recruitment zone surrounding a parent plant. This study examines the extent to which the invasive grass species, Microstegium vimineum, influences recruitment of the understory tree, Cornus florida. In general, M. vimineum was found to reduce both germination and early seedling success and may have significant consequences for future forest structure.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2009

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