Invasive plants that fix nitrogen can alter nutrient availability and thereby community dynamics and successional trajectories of native communities they colonize. Morella cerifera (Myricaceae) is a symbiotic nitrogen fixer originally from the southeastern U.S. that is colonizing native-dominated vegetation on a young lava flow near Hilo, Island of Hawai‘i, where it increases total and biologically available soil nitrogen and increases foliar nitrogen concentrations in associated individuals of the native tree Metrosideros polymorpha. This invasion has the potential to alter the few remaining native-dominated lowland forest ecosystems in windward Hawai‘i.
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We thank J. Benner, H. Farrington, and R. Ostertag for field assistance and advice in study design, K. Amatangelo and D. Turner for laboratory assistance, and K. Amatangelo and R. Ostertag for helpful discussion. This research was supported by grants from the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the National Science Foundation (DEB 0108492) to Stanford University.
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Kurten, E., Snyder, C., Iwata, T. et al. Morella cerifera invasion and nitrogen cycling on a lowland Hawaiian lava flow. Biol Invasions 10, 19–24 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-007-9101-5
- invasive species
- Metrosideros polymorpha
- Nitrogen cycling
- Tropical forest