The effect of plant diversity and ground cover onseedling establishment of diplotaxis tenuifolia(l.) dc. in the central anatolian steppe

Kaplan, Ekin
Invasive exotic plants increasingly pose a threat to native biodiversity in many parts ofthe world. However, they have rarely become successful in Turkey. One hypothesissuggests a highly diverse native flora avoids establishment of any potential invadersthrough intense competition. This hypothesis was tested through an experimentalsetup where a native plant, the Perennial Wall-rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) was usedto emulate an invasion at its early stages.D. tenuifoliais a cosmopolitan floweringplant native to parts of North Africa, West Asia and Europe, and considered to beinvasive in regions such as Australia, Argentina and North America. The study tookplace at METU where ungrazed pockets of typical of Central Anatolian Steppe re-main. The experimental setup involved varying levels of reduced species richnessand/or ground cover through manipulation of the local vegetation, followed by trans-planting the “invader” species and then recording its fate as a function of native plantdiversity. Survival rates ofD. tenuifoliaseedlings were found to be significantly dif-ferent, but showed weak effects for plots with varied levels of species richness andground cover. At the end of the experiment, survival rates ofD. tenuifoliaseedlings in low, middle and high species richness categories was observed as %15.74, %18.83,and %16.36, respectively; and survival rates of low, middle and high cover categorieswas observed as %17.90, %20.68, and %12.34, respectively. This is the first studythat explores conditions for invasiveness in Turkey. While this study does not confirmour main hypothesis, it paves the way for future research on explaining why invasiveplant species are not successful in Turkey.


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Citation Formats
E. Kaplan, “The effect of plant diversity and ground cover onseedling establishment of diplotaxis tenuifolia(l.) dc. in the central anatolian steppe,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2021.