Instrumentation for Evaluating the Role of Photosynthetic Ecophysiology in Plant Invasions of Semiarid Communities
Many semiarid grass and shrublands in western North America are being invaded by persistent, introduced plants. These invasive species are a threat to ecosystem structure and function, and lead to extensive economic losses in agriculture and degradation of wildlife habitat. Efforts to restore invaded lands have focused on eradicating weedy species, often with limited success. More successful control treatments may be identified through increasing our understanding of the basic biology and ecology of invasive species. A portable instrument for measuring photosynthesis on intact plants (model 6400, LI-COR Inc, Lincoln, NE) is requested to upgrade the research infrastructure at Idaho State University (ISU). Several faculty will use the instrument to evaluate ecophysiological aspects of invasive species that contribute to their productivity and
success in semiarid communities. Specifically, we will determine if and how spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) and other weedy species gain a competitive edge through greater photosynthetic carbon gain and productivity in variable and stressful environments.