ASSESSING THE POTENTIAL INVASIVENESS OF CHINESE PLANT SPECIES IN CANADIAN PRAIRIE PROVINCES
Weed seed contaminants in agricultural products from China in recent years have the potential for introducing new invasive plant species. Seeds of 169 weedy species from 39 families were collected from Chinese farmlands. Fifty-eight of these that are currently absent in Canada were evaluated. Two weed risk assessment (WRA) models (modified WRA+ secondary screen tool and weed elsewhere+ modified WRA+ secondary screen tool) rejected all invasive plant species and showed similar accuracy in non-invasvie plant species prediction based on 140 existing alien plant species in Canada, yet the second WRA model took significantly less time to conduct the evaluation. Fifty-five potential invasive species with various negative impacts in Chinese farmlands were rejected to enter Canada by the “weed elsewhere+ modified WRA+ secondary screen tool” model, including eight species that cause significant damage to Chinese farmlands. However, Anemone rivularis and Silene jenisseensis, which have no negative impacts in China, were also rejected. Seed germination characteristics among 18 Chinese weedy species were found with base temperatures for germination (Tb) varying from -2.5°C to 10.9°C, thermal time requirements to reach 50% germination (θ_50) ranging from 23.7 to 209.2℃*Day, and different optimal temperatures for germination, which may facilitate these species to cause different degrees of negative impacts in Canadian prairie provinces. An alien species would have a higher competitive advantage in resource uptake and space occupation than its congeneric with advantageous seed germination characteristics; otherwise it will be less competitive than its congeneric. In addition, plant functional traits that promote invasiveness would make an alien species more invasive. In conclusion, the “weed elsewhere+ modified WRA+ secondary screen tool” model is a fast and highly accurate way to screen out potential invasive species from Chinese environments, and is applicable to other environments with modification. Seed germination characteristics can be used to predict seasonal dynamics of weed seedling populations. The comparison of seed germination characteristics and other plant functional traits between alien plant and its congeneric weed from native areas provides a new way to evaluate the invasive potential of alien plant species.
Chinese plant species, Invasive plant functional traits, Seed germination characteristics, Weed risk assessment model.
Master of Science (M.Sc.)