Silverleaf Nightshade Invasion Dynamics
The following research is being conducted with a CASNR undergraduate research mini-grant. Justin Dawsey, a senior NRM major from Sherman, Texas, will be conducting the research.
Understanding the growth and invasion dynamics of an invasive plant species is an essential component of an effective control strategy. One factor which allows an invasive species to succeed is its ability to outcompete the species already present, including competition for resources such as space, light, water, and nutrients. However, the competitive mechanisms used by most invasive species remains largely unknown. This is true for the invasive silverleaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium), which is known to adversely impact both agricultural and livestock production by outcompeting native forage species.
The objective of this research is to determine the factors that influence the ability of silverleaf nightshade to invade an area and successfully outcompete the native plants already there. To do this, several permanent plots will be established at Texas Tech University's Quaker Farm, in Lubbock. Monthly through the growing season, all plants on the plots will be measured, for both height and width, as well as the distance between them. All the data will be analyzed statistically to determine silverleaf nightshade growth patterns. The data will also be entered into the EDYS plant growth model to look at long-term patterns of silverleaf nightshade invasion success.