Weed invasions: taking a bird's eye view of fleshy-fruited alien invaders

Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, Carl R. Gosper, Chris Stansbury and Eve White, CRC for Australian Weed Management and Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Water, Alan Fletcher Research Station, PO Box 36, Sherwood, Queensland 4075, Australia.


Birds are a major influence on the spread of many weeds throughout Australia. We report briefly on some of the research approaches and outcomes resulting from a research project that has focused on the ecology and management of bird-dispersed weeds. The aims of the project are to develop a better understanding of this complex problem and to identify opportunities for improving the management of this group of weeds. The first stage of the project involved the collation and review of existing information via a bird-observer survey, and a literature review focused on identifying novel management approaches to bird-dispersed weeds. In the second stage, a functional research approach was adopted to better understand the contribution of plant fruit traits to invasiveness, and how these relationships could be used to improve weed management. The third component of the project focused on the investigation of fruit choices and the dietary importance of invasive plants to figbirds (Sphecotheres viridis). More recently, research has focused on testing several of the management approaches we have identified using various model systems or species. The project commenced in mid-2001 and research has been undertaken by scientists and students working within the CRC for Australian Weed Management and collaborating organizations.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2006) 21 (4) 139-141.