Skip to main content


Consequences of exotic species invasion

Research Achievements

Consequences of exotic species invasion

The research of IGERT Trainee, Melissa R. Martin provided unique insights into the ecological consequences of both exotic species invasion and the methods used for countering invasions in the Florida Everglades. Her work revealed that the exotic tree Melaleuca quinquenervia is able to create a positive feedback loop to growth whereby increased quality and quantity of above- and below-ground biomass drove higher levels of storage and availability of below-ground resources. Also, her analysis of large-scale research plots in native, invaded, and managed sub-tropical wetland sites revealed that the use of herbicides to control M. quinquenervia invasion may damage long-term ecosystem structure and function. This issue is vital to the restoration of the Florida Everglades because efforts are underway to restore hydrologic systems in Florida’s natural areas without a good understanding of ecosystem-level effects of exotic plants, which may ultimately hinder or even prevent restoration.