Ecophysiological evaluation of the invasive capacity of an exotic plant (Spathodea campanulata-tulipánafricano) in a secondary forest of Puerto Rico
Fernandez, Denny S.
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The purpose of this research is to evaluate the potential invasibility of Spathodeacampanulata (Africantulip) in a secondary forest at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao. We intended to assess ecophysiological characteristics that will allow S.campanulata to be successful in the forest and how it interacts with Guarea guidonia, a native species in PuertoRico. We predicted that S.campanulata has the ability to survive and grow more rapidly than the native species G.guidonia, and, therefore, successfully invades disturbed habitats. We calculate the specific leaf area(SLA) of 33 seedlings of S.campanulata and 33 seedlings of G.guidonia distributed in open areas with little vegetation. The results show that seedlings of S.campanulata have higher values of SLA than G.guidonia. High values of SLA have a relationship with growth and may indicate more efficiency in photosynthetic capacity, pointing out the invasion capacity of S.campanulata.