Thomas Jefferson University Research Magazine



Invasive plants can have an array of negative ecological effects. In Northeast deciduous forests, for example, invasive plants outcompete natives, disrupt soil nutrient cycling and spread disease that affects humans as well as other plants.

“Invasives are creating increasingly difficult problems across the United States,” says Anne Bower, PhD, professor of biology. “While there are some public and nonprofit efforts to address those problems, we also need to employ free market incentives to overcome this major ecological challenge.” Dr. Bower, Mary Ann Wagner-Graham, PhD, assistant professor of biology, and Becky Flax, MS, assistant professor of textile design, have been working with an interdisciplinary group of undergraduate researchers to develop and demonstrate one such approach: using invasive plants to create natural, non-toxic, sustainable alternatives to synthetic dyes.