Special Issue "Weed Ecology and Diversity"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are surrounded by weeds; in all places humans set foot, weeds will follow, and, in some cases, they become so successful that they invade human-impacted and natural habitats. The term “weed” is rather subjective as we are the ones who decide what plants are called weeds, and the term usually carries a negative connotation. However, there is a reason why weeds grow where they grow and behave in their particular manner. Today, certain groups of weeds have become extremely rare, and some species have even gone extinct from areas where they were once abundant. Climate change also creates a huge challenge, and weeds often act as indicators of this change.

In this Special Issue, we intend to publish contributions assessing the ecology and diversity of weeds in natural and human-impacted ecosystems. We would like to focus on how ecology impacts weeds' distribution, abundance, and diversity and how anthropogenic factors create and destroy specific weed communities. Further topics to be addressed include: 1) The role of weeds in plant communities; 2) How weeds change plant communities; 3) The benefits of weeds; 4) Weeds as bioindicators; 5) Invasive weed species; 6) Preservation of weed diversity; 7) How weed ecology can guide weed management.

With this in mind, we hope to better understand the importance of diverse weed communities and make sure that we do not only see weeds as pests but also recognize their benefits and the need for integrated and holistic management.

Dr. Ilias Travlos
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Weed diversity
  • Weeds
  • Agro-ecology
  • Weed communities
  • Biodiversity
  • Competition
  • Indicators
  • Conservation practices

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Exploring the Genetic Diversity among Weedy Rice Accessions Differing in Herbicide Tolerance and Allelopathic Potential
Diversity 2022, 14(1), 44; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/d14010044 - 11 Jan 2022
Viewed by 116
Abstract
Increasing agricultural productivity is indispensable to meet future food demand. Crop improvement programs rely heavily on genetic diversity. The success of weeds in the ecosystem can be attributed to genetic diversity and plasticity. Weedy rice, a major weed of rice, has diverse morphology [...] Read more.
Increasing agricultural productivity is indispensable to meet future food demand. Crop improvement programs rely heavily on genetic diversity. The success of weeds in the ecosystem can be attributed to genetic diversity and plasticity. Weedy rice, a major weed of rice, has diverse morphology and phenology, implying wide genetic diversity. Study was conducted to genotype weedy rice accessions (n = 54) previously phenotyped for herbicide tolerance and allelopathic potential using 30 SSR markers. Cultivated rice (CL163, REX) and allelopathic rice (RONDO, PI312777, PI338047) were also included in the study. Nei’s genetic diversity among weedy rice (0.45) was found to be higher than cultivated rice (0.24) but less than allelopathic rice (0.56). The genetic relationship and population structure based on herbicide tolerance and allelopathic potential were evaluated. Herbicide-tolerant and susceptible accessions formed distinct clusters in the dendrogram, indicating their genetic variation, whereas no distinction was observed between allelopathic and non-allelopathic weedy rice accessions. Weedy rice accession B2, which was previously reported to have high allelopathy and herbicide tolerance, was genetically distinct from other weedy rice. Results from the study will help leverage weedy rice for rice improvement programs as both rice and weedy rice are closely related, thus having a low breeding barrier. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Diversity)
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Article
Cultural Practices and Mechanical Weed Control for the Management of a Low-Diversity Weed Community in Spinach
Diversity 2021, 13(12), 616; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13120616 - 25 Nov 2021
Viewed by 365
Abstract
Low-diversity weed communities are dominated by few species that are highly competitive to crops. The management of such weed communities should rely upon sustainable cultural and non-chemical practices, especially in crops such as spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.), where very few herbicides are [...] Read more.
Low-diversity weed communities are dominated by few species that are highly competitive to crops. The management of such weed communities should rely upon sustainable cultural and non-chemical practices, especially in crops such as spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.), where very few herbicides are available. A two-year field trial (2020 and 2021) was conducted to evaluate different fertilization practices (broadcast and banded), intra-row spacings (15 cm, 11 cm, 7 cm), and mechanical weed control treatments (untreated, one treatment, two treatments) for the management of a low-diversity weed community in spinach. Weed competition severely affected spinach commercial biomass (R2 = 0.845). Compared to broadcast fertilization, banded fertilization reduced weed biomass and improved spinach yield and nitrogen use efficiency. Narrow intra-row spacing (7-cm) reduced weed biomass by 28 and 45% compared to intra-row spacings of 11-cm and 15-cm, respectively. Two mechanical weed control treatments resulted in 49% lower weed biomass compared to a single treatment. Commercial biomass increased with decreasing intra-row spacing (R2 = 0.881) and increasing the number of mechanical treatments (R2 = 0.911). More cultural and non-chemical practices should be evaluated for weed management in spinach, especially at sites infested with low-diversity weed communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Diversity)
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Article
High Differentiation among Populations of Green Foxtail, Setaria viridis, in Taiwan and Adjacent Islands Revealed by Microsatellite Markers
Diversity 2021, 13(4), 159; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/d13040159 - 07 Apr 2021
Viewed by 692
Abstract
Setaria viridis (L.) Beauv., or green foxtail, is native to Eurasia and is the putative ancestor of foxtail millet. Due to the advantageous genetic characteristics of S. viridis, it is a model species for C4 plants. However, S. viridis has seriously spread [...] Read more.
Setaria viridis (L.) Beauv., or green foxtail, is native to Eurasia and is the putative ancestor of foxtail millet. Due to the advantageous genetic characteristics of S. viridis, it is a model species for C4 plants. However, S. viridis has seriously spread to the agricultural system around the world because of its wide adaptability. This study is aimed to understand the distribution of S. viridis in Taiwan, and also to investigate the genetic diversity and relationships among different wild populations. A total of 141 S. viridis collected at 10 sites with sampling sizes ranging from 8 to 24 plants in Taiwan were analyzed by 13 highly polymorphic SSR markers, and 6.1 alleles per locus were detected in our study. The relationships of collected S. viridis mostly corresponded to its distribution in different parts of Taiwan revealed by PCoA and phylogenetic tree. Similarly, the results for population structure showed the significance of collecting site or geographical factors. Finally, the extent of gene flow was studied with the genetic differentiation (FST) and Nm values, and two S. viridis populations were found to significantly contain the existence of gene-flow events. In conclusion, S. viridis showed a pattern of low diversity and heterozygosity within a population, but high differentiation among populations because of its selfing attribute and the barriers of sea and mountain range for gene flow. In addition, the founder effect may be the other reason for this pattern of population genetic structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Diversity)
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Article
Detection of Target-Site Herbicide Resistance in the Common Ragweed: Nucleotide Polymorphism Genotyping by Targeted Amplicon Sequencing
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 118; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/d13030118 - 10 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 775
Abstract
Background: The spread of herbicide-resistance Ambrosia artemisiifolia threatens not only the production of agricultural crops, but also the composition of weed communities. The reduction of their spread would positively affect the biodiversity and beneficial weed communities in the arable habitats. Detection of resistant [...] Read more.
Background: The spread of herbicide-resistance Ambrosia artemisiifolia threatens not only the production of agricultural crops, but also the composition of weed communities. The reduction of their spread would positively affect the biodiversity and beneficial weed communities in the arable habitats. Detection of resistant populations would help to reduce herbicide exposure which may contribute to the development of sustainable agroecosystems. Methods: This study focuses on the application of target-site resistance (TSR) diagnostic of A. artemisiifolia caused by different herbicides. We used targeted amplicon sequencing (TAS) on Illumina Miseq platform to detect amino acid changes in herbicide target enzymes of resistant and wild-type plants. Results: 16 mutation points of four enzymes targeted by four herbicide groups, such as Photosystem II (PSII), Acetohydroxyacid synthase (AHAS), 5-enolpyruvylshikimate 3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) and protoporphyrinogen IX oxidase (PPO) inhibitors have been identified in common ragweed populations, so far. All the 16 mutation points were analyzed and identified. Out of these, two mutations were detected in resistant biotypes. Conclusions: The applied next-generation sequencing-targeted amplicon sequencing (NGS-TAS) method on A. artemisiifolia resistant and wild-type populations enable TSR detection of large sample numbers in a single reaction. The NGS-TAS provides information about the evolved herbicide resistance that supports the integrated weed control through the reduction of herbicide exposure which may preserve ecological properties in agroecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Diversity)
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Article
Do Weeds Hinder the Establishment of Native Plants on a Reclaimed North American Boreal Mine Site?
Diversity 2021, 13(2), 76; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/d13020076 - 12 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 642
Abstract
The majority of plant diversity in the boreal forest of northern Alberta, Canada is comprised of native understory plant species that are continuously facing competition from other species, including both undesirable native and weedy species. In oil sands mine reclamation, cover soils rich [...] Read more.
The majority of plant diversity in the boreal forest of northern Alberta, Canada is comprised of native understory plant species that are continuously facing competition from other species, including both undesirable native and weedy species. In oil sands mine reclamation, cover soils rich in organic matter are used to cap overburden materials. The aim of this study is to understand the role of weeds on different reclamation cover soils (forest floor-mineral mix and peat-mineral mix) and determine if they hinder the establishment of the native plant community. This study was conducted four growing seasons after site establishment in June 2019. At that time, both soil types had approximately 45% total cover, had 21 species per plot, and were composed of mainly native vegetation. Competition from non-native forbs (11% average cover, mainly Sonchus arvensis and Melilotus alba) did not seem to impact the development of the native vegetation community on either soil type given the high cover and richness of native forbs. However, native graminoids (predominantly Calamagrostis canadensis) were associated with reduced native forb cover and richness at graminoid cover greater than 17%. Overall, non-native forbs appeared to have little impact on the native forb community on either soil type while native graminoids had a negative influence. We suggest that the classification of what is considered an undesirable weedy species should be evaluated in the context of ecosystem management goals rather than simply the presence of non-native species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Diversity)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Genetic diversity among US weedy rice genotypes with differential herbicide tolerance and allelopathic potential
Authors: Tseng, Te-Ming Paul
Affiliation: Department of Plant and Soil Sciences Mississippi State University
Abstract: Increasing agricultural productivity is indispensable to meet future food demand. Crop improvement programs rely heavily on genetic diversity. The success of weeds in the ecosystem can be attributed to genetic diversity and plasticity. Weedy rice, a major weed of rice crop, has diverse morphology and phenology, implying wide genetic diversity. A study was conducted to genotype weedy rice accessions (n =54) previously phenotyped for herbicide tolerance and allelopathic potential using 30 SSR markers. Non-allelopathic (CL163, REX) and allelopathic (RONDO, PI312777, PI338047) rice cultivars were also included in the study. The Nei’s genetic diversity among weedy rice (0.45) was found to be higher than cultivated rice (0.24) but less than allelopathic rice (0.56). Genetic relationship and population structure based on herbicide tolerance and allelopathic potential were evaluated. Herbicide-tolerant and susceptible accessions formed distinct clusters in the dendrogram, indicating their genetic variation, whereas no distinction was observed between allelopathic and non-allelopathic weedy rice accessions. Weedy rice accession B2, which was previously reported to have high allelopathic and herbicide tolerance potential, was genetically distinct from other weedy rice accessions. Results from the study will help leverage weedy rice for rice improvement programs as both rice, and weedy rice are closely related to each other, thus having a low breeding barrier.

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