Ryan Haasl, Real-time invasion dynamics and genetics of Japanese hop | Summary and Q&A

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May 31, 2016
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Stanford
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Ryan Haasl, Real-time invasion dynamics and genetics of Japanese hop

TL;DR

Japanese Hop is an aggressive invasive plant that primarily spreads through waterborne dispersal and is a threat to native plant communities.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What factors contribute to the aggressiveness of Japanese Hop as an invasive species?

Japanese Hop's ability to climb and outcompete other species, its preference for riparian zones, and its strong vine-like growth make it a highly aggressive competitor.

Q: How was the initial introduction of Japanese Hop in Wisconsin likely a result of human-mediated dispersal?

The location and pattern of infestations, along with the absence of the plant upstream and downstream of the initial introduction site, indicate that a construction project in 1999 likely placed the seeds there.

Q: How is genetic diversity affected at pioneer sites of Japanese Hop?

Pioneer sites initially exhibit a founder effect, where rare alleles are either lost or increased in frequency. However, over time, as new seeds from upstream contribute to the population, genetic diversity expands at these sites.

Q: Why is Japanese Hop a useful model system for studying the genetics of range expansion?

Japanese Hop's restriction to riparian zones makes it easy to track its range expansion over time. The recentness of the invasion and the use of small genomic datasets also make it feasible to study genetic patterns.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Japanese Hop is an invasive plant species that prefers riparian zones in Wisconsin and is a strong competitor due to its vine-like growth.

  • The plant has been spreading rapidly since its initial introduction in 1999 and has displaced native plant communities in various areas.

  • Researchers are using spatially explicit simulations and genetic data to study the range expansion and genetic diversity of Japanese Hop.

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