Date of Award

May 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Alison Donnelly

Committee Members

Mark Schwartz, Woonsup Choi


in situ, invasive species, phenology, shrub


Shrub species, both native and non-native, are an important component of temperate deciduous forest ecosystems but are an often-overlooked and under-studied functional group. Shrubs tend to leaf-out earlier than trees in spring and retain their leaves later in autumn thus extending the overall growing season and the carbon uptake period of the forest ecosystem. In this study, a range of 5- native and 3- non-native shrub species were identified in a deciduous urban woodlot, and the phenology was monitored over a 3-year period on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus. The aim of this work was to determine any variation in the timing (DOY) and duration (days) of key spring (bud-open, leaf-out, full-leaf unfolded) and autumn (leaf color, leaf fall) phenophases between native and non-native species. Preliminary results revealed interesting findings with buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica (an alien invasive/non-native species) consistently leafing out later than most native species and taking longer to reach full-leaf unfolded. Additionally, non-native species such as European privet Lingustrum vulgare have a longer growing season than native species ranging from 14 days to 35 days longer in non-native species than native species across the three-year period. This shows how non-native species can lengthen the fall season compared to native species. These results could add to the understanding of how non-native shrub species may gain a competitive advantage over native shrubs and may help inform future conservation management plans.