Emily Bishop ’18

Project TitleA study of Lonicera maackii: Understanding the proliferation through time of this invasive plant species
Mentor – Nathan Amador Rowley

Invasive species can be a threat to all biomes. In the case of invasive plant species, the plants are transported from outside ecosystems, most often used for aesthetic purposes. Over a short period of time, the species are able to proliferate across the landscape, out-competing the endemic vegetation for resources. Invasives are commonly more efficient at nutrient uptake, and are more tolerant to ecosystem changes, thus allowing them to grow in locations that endemics cannot tolerate. As a result, these species are more successful than endemics and will often push native species out of their niche. It is important to keep endemic populations high because native plants are the ecological basis for which life in any particular biome depends on.

This study focuses on the invasive species, Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), which originated in Asia and was brought to the U.S. to be used for aesthetics in homes and gardens. This invasive shrub is very common in the temperate deciduous biome and can be found on both of Ohio Wesleyan’s nature preserves. This work provides a visual representation of the spread of Amur Honeysuckle in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky from pre-2000 to now. Logged locations of the honeysuckle are used to generate these time-series maps showing the spread using geographic information system, ArcGIS. This research lends itself to be used for future projections of honeysuckle invasion. Understanding which areas will be at risk can help in the containment of this invasive species.