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      The complexity underlying invasiveness precludes the identification of invasive traits: A comparative study of invasive and non-invasive heterocarpic Atriplex congeners

      1 , 1 , 1 , 2 , *

      PLoS ONE

      Public Library of Science

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          Abstract

          Heterocarpy enables species to effectively spread under unfavourable conditions by producing two or more types of fruit differing in ecological characteristics. Although it is frequent in annuals occupying disturbed habitats that are vulnerable to invasion, there is still a lack of congeneric studies addressing the importance of heterocarpy for species invasion success. We compared two pairs of heterocarpic Atriplex species, each of them comprising one invasive and one non-invasive non-native congener. In two common garden experiments, we (i) simulated the influence of different levels of nutrients and population density on plants grown from different types of fruits and examined several traits that are generally positively associated with invasion success, and (ii) grew plants in a replacement series experiment to evaluate resource partitioning between them and to compare their competitive ability. We found that specific functional traits or competitiveness of species cannot explain the invasiveness of Atriplex species, indicating that species invasiveness involves more complex interactions of traits that are important only in certain ecological contexts, i.e. in specific environmental conditions and only some habitats. Interestingly, species trait differences related to invasion success were found between plants growing from the ecologically most contrasting fruit types. We suggest that fruit types differing in ecological behaviour may be essential in the process of invasion or in the general spreading of heterocarpic species, as they either the maximize population growth (type C fruit) or enhance the chance of survival of new populations (type A fruit). Congeners offer the best available methodical framework for comparing traits among phylogenetically closely related invasive and non-invasive species. However, as indicated by our results, this approach is unlikely to reveal invasive traits because of the complexity underlying invasiveness.

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          Most cited references 63

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          Performance Comparisons of Co-Occurring Native and Alien Invasive Plants: Implications for Conservation and Restoration

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            Optimizing reproduction in a randomly varying environment.

             Dan Cohen (1966)
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              Population biology of plants

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                26 April 2017
                2017
                : 12
                : 4
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Ecology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic
                [2 ]Department of Genetic Ecology, Institute of Botany, Průhonice, Czech Republic
                Fudan University, CHINA
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                • Conceptualization: BM.

                • Data curation: J. Doudová J. Douda BM.

                • Formal analysis: J. Doudová J. Douda.

                • Funding acquisition: BM.

                • Investigation: BM.

                • Methodology: BM.

                • Project administration: BM.

                • Resources: J. Doudová J. Douda BM.

                • Supervision: BM.

                • Visualization: J. Doudová J. Douda.

                • Writing – original draft: J. Doudová BM.

                • Writing – review & editing: J. Doudová J. Douda BM.

                Article
                PONE-D-16-38670
                10.1371/journal.pone.0176455
                5405964
                28445514
                © 2017 Doudová et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 3, Pages: 16
                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: Grant Agency of the Czech Republic
                Award ID: 15-06632S
                Award Recipient :
                The research was supported by grant no. 15-06632S from the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic and by the long-term research development project, RVO 67985939.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Species Colonization
                Invasive Species
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Organisms
                Plants
                Fruits
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Plant Science
                Plant Anatomy
                Seeds
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Species Interactions
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Developmental Biology
                Fertilization
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Population Biology
                Population Metrics
                Population Density
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Ecology
                Plant Ecology
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Ecology
                Plant Ecology
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Plant Science
                Plant Ecology
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Agriculture
                Agrochemicals
                Fertilizers
                Custom metadata
                All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

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