How do invasive species spread across the landscape? What factors/processes contribute to their success in the new environment? We are studying garlic mustard, a noxious invasive species of North American forest understory, to address the above questions. Specifically, we are investigating the relative importance of environmental factors, inter- and intra-specific interactions and seed dispersal on garlic mustard population dynamics. We are also testing whether the relative importance of these factors/processes varies between habitat types, e.g., forest understory vs. open grasslands. This study will provide significant insights on what controls the spread of an invasive species and how it performs in different habitats – these understandings are critical to continue our fight against biological invasion.
Shekhar R Biswas, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto