Competition from native hydrophytes reduces establishment and growth of invasive dense-flowered cordgrass (Spartina densiflora)
|Author||Abbas, Ahmed M.
Lambert, Adam M.
Rubio Casal, Alfredo Emilio
Cires Segura, Alfonso de
Figueroa Clemente, Manuel Enrique
Castillo Segura, Jesús Manuel
|Department||Universidad de Sevilla. Departamento de Biología Vegetal y Ecología|
|Published in||PeerJ, 3, 1-12.|
|Abstract||Experimental studies to determine the nature of ecological interactions between invasive and native species are necessary for conserving and restoring native species in impacted habitats. Theory predicts that species ...
Experimental studies to determine the nature of ecological interactions between invasive and native species are necessary for conserving and restoring native species in impacted habitats. Theory predicts that species boundaries along environmental gradients are determined by physical factors in stressful environments and by competitive ability in benign environments, but little is known about the mechanisms by which hydrophytes exclude halophytes and the life history stage at which these mechanisms are able to operate. The ongoing invasion of the South American Spartina densiflora in European marshes is causing concern about potential impacts to native plants along the marsh salinity gradient, offering an opportunity to evaluate the mechanisms by which native hydrophytes may limit, or even prevent, the expansion of invasive halophytes. Our study compared S. densiflora seedling establishment with and without competition with Phragmites australis and Typha domingensis, two hydrophytes differing in clonal architecture. We hypothesized that seedlings of the stress tolerant S. densiflora would be out-competed by stands of P. australis and T. domingensis. Growth, survivorship, biomass patterns and foliar nutrient content were recorded in a common garden experiment to determine the effect of mature P. australis and T. domingensis on the growth and colonization of S. densiflora under fresh water conditions where invasion events are likely to occur. Mature P. australis stands prevented establishment of S. densiflora seedlings and T. domingensis reduced S. densiflora establishment by 38%. Seedlings grown with P. australis produced fewer than five short shoots and all plants died after ca. 2 yrs. Our results showed that direct competition, most likely for subterranean resources, was responsible for decreased growth rate and survivorship of S. densiflora. The presence of healthy stands of P. australis, and to some extent T. domingensis, along river channels and in brackish marshes may prevent the invasion of S. densiflora by stopping the establishment of its seedlings.
|Cite||Abbas, A.M., Lambert, A.M., Rubio Casal, A.E., Cires, A.d., Figueroa Clemente, M.E. y Castillo, J.M. (2015). Competition from native hydrophytes reduces establishment and growth of invasive dense-flowered cordgrass (Spartina densiflora). PeerJ, 3, 1-12.|