Garlic Mustard as an Invasive Plant
Summary: Garlic Mustard has steadily invaded the under-story of North American Forests, but the dynamics of the long-term invasion by this species has not been thoroughly studied. Invasion by Garlic Mustard has been correlated with changes in soil bacteria composition, with inhibition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and with complex alteration of plant communities. The purpose of this study is to monitor and quantitatively measure the invasion of Garlic Mustard into forested areas of eastern Nebraska.
Status: Currently, the project has been depreciated, and the study site near Omaha closed due to flooding. As of November 2010, this project consists of three years of field data collected each summer in June and July. Data indicate a clear increase in garlic mustard at the study site both spatially and in frequency. The research plan is to continue collection of data at permanent transect locations to model the long-term invasion of the study site with emphasis placed on the changes in the plant community (assuming an appropriate, closer to Kearney, study site can be identified).
Opportunities for Students: Actively gaining experience in field studies involving the collection of plant species using standard methodology and the use of global positioning systems (GPS) are available. Data are collected in eastern Nebraska near Omaha. Students would need to be available for approximately 1-2 weeks in the summer to participate in data collection. Additional opportunities are available for data analysis.
Paper published in the North American Prairie Conference, garlic mustard pdf
Garlic mustard infestation photoed in the spring.
Study site before garlic mustard (left) and after complete invasion (right). Photo taken in June-July after garlic mustard has set seeds.