Plant Reproductive Strategies and Niche Dynamics

By way of understanding the mechanics of the niche shifts common to many plant invasions, this study investigates whether the different reproductive strategies used by alien plants affect their ability to expand their individual niches.

By way of understanding the mechanics of the niche shifts common to many plant invasions, this study investigates whether the different reproductive strategies used by alien plants affect their ability to expand their individual niches. Using GBIF-mediated occurrences as well as climate data, researchers modeled the niche dynamics of 13 flowering plants that rely on sexual reproduction and compared them with plants that rely on asexual reproduction. The matched plants were either from the same genus or tribe. Surprisingly, they find no significant differences between the two groups. The assumption that sexual reproduction and the genetic recombination involved in this process would allow for more pronounced changes in niche dynamics does not hold up. In fact, their results indicate that adaptive evolution is not the predominant driver of niche dynamics.

Citations

Dellinger, A. S., Essl, F., Hojsgaard, D., Kirchheimer, B., Klatt, S., Dawson, W., … Dullinger, S. (2015). Niche dynamics of alien species do not differ among sexual and apomictic flowering plants. The New Phytologist. doi:10.1111/nph.13694

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