Non-native species are regularly introduced into environments in which they replace existing native species and drastically influence the ecological characteristics of the area and the habitat of the living organisms surrounding them. In the botanical field of study, invasive plant species can choke out native species thus making them endangered or extinct. Specifically in the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California, there are over 300 non-native species of plants, each the source of its own repercussions and having both positive and negative effects on the environment. One specific non-native species, Carpobrotus edulis (ice plant) replaces the native Coreopsis gigante (giant coreopsis) and grows along the windy, sandy coast near the Santa Monica Mountains, supposedly better anchoring the soil and preventing wind erosion. This study attempted to examine one factor affecting soil retention abilities of plants: root tensile and elastic strength of the lateral roots of giant coreopsis as compared to the fibrous roots of ice plant. Our data showed that ice plant had a significantly stronger initial tensile strain per unit area as well as elas;c resistance (stress/strain) despite not having significantly larger roots than those of giant coreopsis.
Elmquist, Jamie; Lim, Andrea; Scholl, Amanda; and Vest, Amanda, "Root Tensile Strength in a Native and Non-Native Species of the Coastal Chaparral Community" (2010). Pepperdine University, All Undergraduate Student Research. Paper 18.