Plant invasions cause dramatic shifts in plant communities and ecosystem processes. While these changes are obvious aboveground, less is known about changes belowground. Focusing on the most significant invaders in our area in the Intermountain West of the United States, this seminar will highlight how spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe), leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula), cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and sulfur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta) alter soil microbial communities and nutrient cycles, and what the consequences of these shifts might be for restoration.
Speaker: Dr. Ylva Lekberg is a soil ecologist at MPG Ranch and an adjunct professor at University of Montana. Her research focuses on structural and functional shifts in soil ecosystems associated with plant invasions, and how these changes may affect restoration success. Prior to her work in invasion biology, Ylva explored the role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in subsistence farmers’ fields in Sub-Saharan Africa, coastal grasslands in Denmark and geothermal areas in Yellowstone.