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SFS Annual Meeting

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Stormwater ponds are proliferating urban hydrological management features that could also harbor invasive plants. Identifying the characteristics of plants that invade stormwater ponds is crucial for predicting invaders, improving management efforts, and determining the potential for these ponds to spread invasives to nearby uninvaded habitats. We have compiled a database of 70 functional traits of 28 invasive plant species we observed in Florida stormwater ponds. Most plants are perennials that were, or currently are, sold commercially for ornamental or agricultural purposes. Additionally, most can reproduce asexually, grow quickly, and prefer disturbed habitats, all of which are common traits associated with successful plant invaders. These results suggest that stormwater ponds are readily invaded by plants introduced for human use, which are also likely capable of quickly invading and spreading throughout newly built ponds. Invasive pond plants also exhibited a wide diversity of growth forms (i.e. trees, shrubs, vines, herbs, and ferns) dispersed primarily via animal or water vectors. This diversity of traits indicates that many types of invasive plants could establish in stormwater ponds, and invaders likely arrive and spread through hydrological connections and via animals that visit the ponds.

James Sinclair (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Florida,;

Allyson Holmes (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Florida, ;

Basil Iannone (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Florida,;