Effects of maternal source and progeny microhabitat on natural selection and population dynamics in Alliaria petiolata.
The success or failure of propagules in contrasting microhabitats may play a role in biological invasion. We tested for variation in demographic performance and phenotypic trait expression during invasion by Alliaria petiolata in different microhabitats.
We performed a reciprocal transplant experiment with Alliaria petiolata from edge, intermediate, and forest understory microhabitats to determine the roles of the environment and maternal source on traits, fecundity, population growth rates (λ), and selection.
Observations of in situ populations show that edge populations had the highest density and reproductive output, and forest populations had the lowest. In experimental populations, population growth rates and reproductive output were highest in the edge, and the intermediate habitat had the lowest germination and juvenile survival. Traits exhibited phenotypic plasticity in response to microhabitat, but that plasticity was not adaptive. There were few effects of maternal source location on fitness components or traits.
Alliaria petiolata appears to be viable, or nearly so, in all three microhabitat types, with edge populations likely providing seed to the other microhabitats. The intermediate microhabitat may filter propagules at the seed stage, but discrepancies between in situ observations and experimental transplants preclude clear conclusions about the role of each microhabitat in niche expansion. However, edge microhabitats show the highest seed output in both analyses, suggesting that managing edge habitats might reduce spread to the forest understory.
Stinson, K; Carley, L; Hancock, L; Donohue, K
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