Evans Effah

Doctor of Philosophy, (Ecology)
Study Completed: 2020
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Volatile organic compounds emitted by invasive and native plant species under invasion scenarios and their potential ecological roles

Several introduced weeds, including heather, have invaded the North Island Central Plateau of New Zealand. These invaders are known to outcompete native plants and displace native fauna. It is, therefore, crucial to understand the chemical mechanisms contributing to their superiority in the ecosystem. Mr Effah investigated the volatile secondary metabolites, i.e., plant odours of invasive and New Zealand native plants, and determined the environmental factors regulating their emissions. He found that invasive plants modified the environment they invaded, which accounted for variations in the volatile compounds emitted by both invasive and native plants. The results further showed that changes in plant volatile emissions affected the distribution of insects, spiders and mites. Also, the volatile compounds produced by invasive plants negatively affected the growth and development of native m?nuka plants.

Dr Andrea Clavijo McCormick
Professor Jarmo Holopainen
Professor Murray Potter