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Assessing Why Two Introduced Conyza Differ in Their Ability to Invade Mediterranean Old Fields on JSTOR

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Journal Article

Assessing Why Two Introduced Conyza Differ in Their Ability to Invade Mediterranean Old Fields

Christophe Thébaud, Adrien C. Finzi, Laurence Affre, Max Debussche and Josep Escarre Ecology Vol. 77, No. 3 (Apr., 1996), pp. 791-804 Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Ecological Society of America DOI: 10.2307/2265502 https://www.jstor.org/stable/2265502 Page Count: 14

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Topics: Seeds, Replanting, Plants, Herbivores, Biological invasions, Old fields, Inflorescences, Addition, Resource availability Give feedback Were these topics helpful?

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  • Journal Info Ecology Description:

    Ecology publishes articles that report on the basic elements of ecological research. Emphasis is placed on concise, clear articles documenting important ecological phenomena. The journal publishes a broad array of research that includes a rapidly expanding envelope of subject matter, techniques, approaches, and concepts: paleoecology through present-day phenomena; evolutionary, population, physiological, community, and ecosystem ecology, as well as biogeochemistry; inclusive of descriptive, comparative, experimental, mathematical, statistical, and interdisciplinary approaches.

    Coverage: 1920-2016 (Vol. 1, No. 1 - Vol. 97, No. 12) Moving Wall: 2 years (What is the moving wall?)

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    ISSN: 00129658 EISSN: 19399170 Subjects: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Science & Mathematics, Biological Sciences Collections: Arts & Sciences I Collection, Biological Sciences Collection, Ecology & Botany I Collection, JSTOR Essential Collection, Life Sciences Collection
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Abstract

Researchers have suggested that species-community interactions determine invasion success. Therefore, it is likely that small biological differences between species interact with habitat characteristics to produce distinct patterns of distribution and abundance throughout a new range. In this study we test the hypothesis that differences in the distribution and abundance of species sharing an identical set of "ideal weed characteristics" are explicable in terms of species-specific responses to environmental variation within their new range. Using multifactor experiments, we investigated some of the ecological interactions influencing reproductive success in two very closely related species of annuals having invaded the French Mediterranean region for >150 yr and showing marked differences in their local distribution and abundance patterns. We transplanted seedlings of Conyza canadensis (a species restricted to recently disturbed areas) and C. sumatrensis (a species colonizing early- to mid-successional old fields) at equal densities in three contrasting old fields (6 mo, 4 yr, 17-yr abandonment, respectively) during 1991-1992, a growing season with average rainfall. Individual performances (measured as survivorship, reproductive timing, and reproductive output) were evaluated with respect to: (1) competition with plant neighbors (tested with a weeding treatment), (2) resource availability (tested with nutrient and water addition), and (3) herbivory (tested with chemical limitation). Manipulated factors interacted in a rather complex fashion to influence survivorship and reproduction in both species. However, patterns of relative performance were consistent with relative distribution patterns across Mediterranean landscapes: C. sumatrensis performed better than C. canadensis in all fields, including the youngest one (6 mo old). Herbivory only slightly affected transplant performances. In contrast, competition with plant neighbors had substantial effects on either Conyza species and may be the most important determinant of performance in Mediterranean old fields. The experiment showed unambiguously that the two species differ markedly in their competitive ability, with C. sumatrensis performing better than C. canadensis in the presence of neighboring vegetation. In addition, C. sumatrensis displayed a superior ability to take up and/or to use water and nutrient resources when they become available in competitive environments. We argue that potential physiological or anatomical species differences responsible for this differential susceptibility to local resource reduction by neighbors could involve differences in constructional organization, leaf morphology, and reproductive phenologies. Ecology © 1996 Wiley Request Permissions

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