Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Krish Jayachandran

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Kateel G. Shetty

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Rosemary Hickey-Vargas

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Soil, Biogeochemistry, Plants, Invasive, Native

Date of Defense



Invasive plant species are major threats to the biodiversity and ecosystem stability. The purpose of this study is to understand the impacts of invasive plants on soil nutrient cycling and ecological functions. Soil samples were collected from rhizosphere and non-rhizosphere of both native and exotic plants from three genera, Lantana, Ficus and Schinus, at Tree Tops Park in South Florida, USA. Experimental results showed that the cultivable bacterial population in the soil under Brazilian pepper (invasive Schinus) was approximately ten times greater than all other plants. Also, Brazilian pepper lived under conditions of significantly lower available phosphorus but higher phosphatase activities than other sampled sites. Moreover, the respiration rates and soil macronutrients in rhizosphere soils of exotic plants were significantly higher than those of the natives (Phosphorus, p=0.034; Total Nitrogen, p=0.0067; Total Carbon, p=0.0243). Overall, the soil biogeochemical status under invasive plants was different from those of the natives.





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