WPTRC | Plant Physiology
The Plant Physiology & Fruit Science research team focuses on understanding the responses of plants to the typical abiotic stresses of the Mariana Islands. This work is primarily whole plant physiology. The horticultural research aims at improving production practices of tropical fruit species and native woody perennial tree species.
Researchers in this laboratory have been at the forefront in protecting Cycas micronesica, the only native gymnosperm from the Mariana Islands, from two introduced arthropods: the cycad blue butterfly, Chilades pandava Horsfield and Asian cycad scale, Aulacaspis yasumatsui Takagi. The combined attack of these introduced species has resulted in a very high mortality rate which has prompted the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) to designate a provisional conservation endangered species for Cycas micronesica.
Survival of Cycas micronesica population in northern Guam.
Top figure shows nine years of consistent mortality indication loss of about 16 trees per hectare per year. Bottom figure predicts 100% mortality by 2030 if current rates of tree loss are sustained.
Methods are described in: Marler, T.E and J.H. Lawrence. 2012. Demography of Cycas micronesica on Guam following introduction of the armoured scale Aulacaspis yasumatsui. Journal of Tropical Ecology 28: 233-242.
Understanding litter decomposition dynamics greatly contributes to understanding how terrestrial ecosystems function and factors that control storage of soil carbon. Although the literature on litter decomposition is robust, there is a conspicuous bias toward temperate ecosystems.
Click on the link to learn more about this study. Forest Leaf Litter