Sydney, September 13 (ANI): A new research has revealed that socks and hiking boots can spread seeds over large distances.
According to a report by ABC News, the research was carried out by researchers at the Griffith University in Brisbane.
It determined that socks are fairly inconspicuous and rarely fashionable, but they can catch and spread far more seeds than previously thought.
Ecologist and co-researcher Associate Professor Catherine Pickering, of the Griffith University in Brisbane, said the aim of the research was to look at how far seeds can be transported over a short walk of about 100 metres.
"We also wanted to know whether the amount of seed you pick up depends on what you wear," she said.
Pickering said her colleague Dr Ann Mount, also of Griffith University, spent several days walking along the roadsides of Kosciuszko National Park.
"On one leg, she was wearing a boot, sock and fake trouser leg and on the other a boot, sock and shorts," said Pickering.
She said that in total, 24,776 seeds were collected on more than 200 pieces of clothing sampled.
According to Pickering, when Mount wore specialist explorer socks they collected more seeds of greater diversity than sports socks.
"But, the sports socks still picked up a dramatic amount of seed," she said.
She said that wearing trousers reduces the amount of seed a person collects on their clothing by 17 percent.
Pickering said that throughout the experiment, 50 species were collected, and of those, 40 percent were non-native.
She said as many as 25 percent of the seeds collected on the clothing remain attached after a five kilometre walk.
"It's amazing how much you can carry around unintentionally," she said.
She said if seeds can be carried over kilometres, they could be introduced into a National Park.
Pickering recommends that people cover up their socks when out walking in vegetation.
"You need to cover them with a material like new synthetic trousers that's impervious to seeds," she said.
She said walkers should also resist the urge to pull seeds that have become attached out of their socks.ickering said that they now want to determine to what extend seed dispersal is caused by human movement.
"Long distance seed dispersal is rare, but it's really important in the invasion process," she said. (ANI)