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Species attributes and invasion success by alien plants on Mediterranean islands

Lloret, Francisco and Médail, Frédéric and Brundu, Giuseppe Antonio Domenico and Camarda, Ignazio and Moragues, Eva and Rita, Juan and Lambdon, Philip and Hulme, Philip E. (2005) Species attributes and invasion success by alien plants on Mediterranean islands. Journal of Ecology, Vol. 93 (3), p. 512-520. eISSN 1365-2745. Article.

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2005.00979.x


1 Species attributes have been used to explain invasion patterns assuming the prevalence of biological mechanisms, although this approach often suffers several methodological and conceptual limitations, such as local idiosyncrasies, differences among habitats, phylogenetic constraints and insufficient sample size.
2 The relative importance of 15 species traits for explaining the abundance over 350 naturalized alien plant species was assessed across five Mediterranean islands (Corsica, Crete, Majorca, Malta and Sardinia). A comparative analysis accounting for phylogeny was used to examine variation in semi-quantitative estimates of species abundance in comparable habitats across the five island floras.
3 Species were divided into those with affinity for semi-natural, agricultural and ruderal habitats. Both vegetative and reproductive attributes were evaluated for individual islands and averaged across all islands.
4 Vegetative propagation, large leaf size, summer flowering, long flowering period and dispersal by wind or vertebrates were positively associated with average alien abundance across all five islands. Fewer significant trends were found in island-specific patterns.
5 The relative importance of a few reproductive traits is reflected in over-representation of Caryophyllales, Asterales and Poales (late flowering, large seed size and anemochory). Although significant covariation in traits was found there was no evidence for welldefined invasive syndromes.
6 Succulence was important in ruderal habitats, long flowering period in agricultural habitats and vertebrate seed dispersal in semi-natural habitats, suggesting that empty niches, avoidance of competitors and exploitation of mutualists, respectively, are important.
7 The study highlights the importance of estimating invasion success across a wide region, but analyses of specific invasion stages are also needed. Reproductive traits, which may be more relevant for long-distance colonization, and vegetative traits, which determine local dominance and persistence, were, nevertheless, both related to abundance within islands.

Item Type:Article
ID Code:1317
Uncontrolled Keywords:Alien plant species, biogeography, biological invasions, invasion syndrome, island ecology, Mediterranean basin, naturalized species, species traits
Subjects:Area 05 - Scienze biologiche > BIO/02 Botanica sistematica
Divisions:001 Università di Sassari > 01 Dipartimenti > Scienze botaniche, ecologiche e geologiche
Publisher:British Ecological Society
Deposited On:18 Aug 2009 10:04

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