Drought and ice plant invasion in Bodega Bay, California
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis) is a succulent native to South Africa that is widespread in coastal California. Ice plant invasion is facilitated by the plant's ability to compete for water. More frequent drought due to climate change could enhance the invasive potential of ice plant due to its succulent properties and potential to access and compete for water under drought conditions. However, ice plant spread may be slowed due to water stress under drought despite a potential competitive advantage. We test the alternative hypotheses that invasive potential increases or decreases during times of drought by analyzing ice plant spread during past droughts at Bodega Bay, California using analysis of aerial photographs taken over the last two decades. The results of this analysis may reveal how ice plant may behave in future drought years and provide useful information for invasive species management.