Roses and Evolutionary Stability

http://dnr.state.il.us/stewardship/cd/biocontrol/22MultifloraRose.html

http://mdc.mo.gov/your-property/problem-plants-and-animals/invasive-plants/multiflora-rose-control

In the 1940’s the Multiflora Rose was introduced to the United States from Japan.  It was widely planted to slow erosion and as a wind breaker for farmers and homes.  The introduction of the Multiflora Rose was a new species being introduced to the landscape of North America.  Within years the Multiflora Rose became an invasive pest to North America. The Multiflora Rose thriving in it’s new habitat creates an example of evolutionary stability. The Multiflora Rose shows evolutionary stability by wining competitions over domestic species.  When the rose was introduced to North America the rose quickly killed other resident species by increasing its root network and creating a “fence” with its roots, which suffocates and kills other plant species and insure no other plants could steal nutrients from the rose.  The Multiflora Rose also prevailed over other species of plants by being less susceptible to be eaten by animal life.  The thorns of the Multiflora Rose deter animals from eating them which greater enhances the roses stability.  The Multiflora Roses ability to exhibit evolutionary stability has made the rose a pest in North America and has lead to millions of dollars of destruction trying to destroy this invasive species.  Clearly not the social optimum.

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1 thought on “Roses and Evolutionary Stability”

  1. Great example of evolutionary stability and how much it can destroy the original population. The Mutiflora Rose is just one of hundreds of plants that are evolutionary stable. These plants are those that are now being deemed invasive species, because as you described they take over a habitat and kill off the native species. It is interesting to see what makes this particular plant evolutionary stable. From the “crowding out” of other plants through its root system to its defense mechanisms so that it is not eaten. All of these properties make it superior in comparison to the native species. It is actually quite common for foreign species, whether they be plants or animals, to see near uninhibited population growth. This is directly connected to the fact that these species typically do not have predators to control their population growth. This is why now after realizing many instances in which a foreign species has taken over, it is prohibited to introduce a foreign species to an environment.

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