such as "Introduction", "Conclusion"..etc
The recent findings by a team of Northeastern University ecologists
studying plant life on the Boston Harbor Islands may advance societal
efforts to stem the damage caused by invading exotic species.
When these non-native species of plants gain a toehold and start
colonizing, they can cause tremendous economic and environmental harm.
In 2005, damages resulting from these exotic colonies cost an estimated
$120 billion. For that reason, scientists continue to try to identify
what factors influence the establishment of exotic species in order to
help prevent them from colonizing.
The Northeastern study, published in the journal Ecology, found
that, contrary to prior research, exotic plant species are more capable
of colonizing islands further away from the mainland than their native
“Our study shows how the predictions of island biogeography can
provide insight into the broad-scale factors driving the colonization
and establishment of exotic species on islands,” said Associate
Professor of Biology Geoffrey C. Trussell, one of the lead researchers,
and director of Northeastern’s Marine Science Center.
Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Science
Foundation, this study is unique because it overcame issues that have
limited the conclusions of previous studies on the distribution and
abundance of exotic and native species on islands. Trussell, Marine
Science Center postdoctoral research associate Jeremy Long, and Ted
Elliman of the New England Wild Flower Society, focused their study on
a group of islands that were ideal in terms of their location and the
number of exotic and native species colonizing on them.
Trussell noted that, according to classical island biogeography
theory, larger islands should have more species than smaller islands
and islands located closer to the mainland should have more species
than islands further away from the mainland.
The Northeastern study found that, consistent with theory, the
larger harbor islands closer to the mainland have more native and
exotic species than the smaller islands further away from the mainland.
However, the greater relative abundance of exotic species on the
islands further away from the mainland suggests that native and exotic
species are responding differently to island isolation and potentially
“We hope that similar approaches by future researchers will provide
a better understanding of exotic and native plant communities and the
mechanisms driving their dynamics,” added Trussell.
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