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      Differential germination strategies of native and introduced populations of the invasive species Plantago virginica

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      NeoBiota

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Germination strategies are critically important for the survival, establishment and spread of plant species. Although many plant traits related to invasiveness have been broadly studied, the earliest part of the life cycle, germination, has received relatively little attention. Here, we compared the germination patterns between native (North America) and introduced (China) populations of Plantagovirginica for four consecutive years to examine whether there has been adaptive differentiation in germination traits and how these traits are related to local climatic conditions. We found that the introduced populations of P.virginica had significantly higher germination percentages and faster and shorter durations of germination than native populations. Critically, the native populations had a significantly larger proportion of seeds that stayed dormant in all four years, with only 60% of seeds germinating in year 1 (compared to >95% in introduced populations). These results demonstrate striking differences in germination strategies between native and introduced populations which may contribute to their successful invasion. Moreover, the germination strategy of P.virginica in their native range exhibited clear geographical variation across populations, with trends towards higher germination percentages at higher latitudes and lower annual mean temperatures and annual precipitation. In the introduced range, however, their germination strategies were more conserved, with less variation amongst populations, suggesting that P.virginica may have experienced strong selection for earlier life history characteristics. Our findings highlight the need to examine the role of rapid evolution of germination traits in facilitating plant invasion.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Ecological and evolutionary insights from species invasions.

          Species invasions provide numerous unplanned and frequently, but imperfectly, replicated experiments that can be used to better understand the natural world. Classic studies by Darwin, Grinnell, Elton and others on these species-invasion experiments provided invaluable insights for ecology and evolutionary biology. Recent studies of invasions have resulted in additional insights, six of which we discuss here; these insights highlight the utility of using exotic species as 'model organisms'. We also discuss a nascent hypothesis that might provide a more general, predictive understanding of invasions and community assembly. Finally, we emphasize how the study of invasions can help to inform our understanding of applied problems, such as extinction, ecosystem function and the response of species to climate change.
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            Optimizing reproduction in a randomly varying environment.

             Dan Cohen (1966)
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              Novel weapons: invasive success and the evolution of increased competitive ability

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                NeoBiota
                NB
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2488
                1619-0033
                March 19 2019
                March 19 2019
                : 43
                : 101-118
                Article
                10.3897/neobiota.43.30392
                © 2019

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