Impacts of intraspecific density on glucosinolate concentration among garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) populations



Faculty advisor: Kristina Stinson

Stinson Lab website


Research interest:

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) produces a class of secondary metabolites, called glucosinolates, which aid in its competitiveness as an invasive species. Garlic mustard has the ability to grow at high densities and form dense monocultures across forest edges and understories. The hydrolyzed product of glucosinolate, sinigrin is most notable in garlic mustard and may be responsible for negative the multi trophic effect of decreasing forest species diversity (Callaway and Ridenour 2004; Cipollini 2004; Barto et al. 2010). However, the relationship between intraspecific density, glucosinolate production, and potential growth trade-offs, remains poorly understood. The aim of this research is to measure how glucosinolates, specifically sinigrin, may vary among garlic mustard populations due to the number of garlic mustard plants present and to evaluate any trade-offs in sinigrin production versus growth within these intraspecific garlic mustard field densities. To assess if glucosinolate concentration varies as a function of density and if there are trade-offs between defense and growth, I will sample garlic mustard in the field and in a common garden experiment.