Publication Date: 2012.
Germination is a crucial step for invasive plants to extend their distribution under different environmental conditions in a new range. Therefore, information on germination characteristics of invasive plant species provides invaluable knowledge about the factors which might contribute to the invasion success. Moreover, intra-specific comparisons under controlled conditions will show if different responses between non-native and native populations are caused by evolutionary changes or by phenotypic plasticity towards different environmental influences. This paper focuses on the germination of native and non-native Ulmus pumila populations. We expected that non-native populations would be characterized by their higher final germination percentage and enhanced germination rate, which might indicate an influence due to corresponding climatic conditions. Germination experiments with a moderate and a warm temperature treatment did not reveal significant differences in final germination percentage. However, seeds from the North American non-native range germinated significantly faster than native seeds (p < 0.001). Additionally, mean time to germination in both ranges was significantly negatively correlated with annual precipitation (p = 0.022). At the same time, this relationship is stronger in the native range whereas mean time to germination in non-native populations seems to be less influenced by climatic conditions. Different germination responses of the North American populations could be caused by a fast evolutionary change mediating a higher tolerance to current climatic conditions in the non-native range. However, our findings could also be caused by artificial selection during the introduction process and extensive planting of Ulmus pumila in its non-native range. Nevertheless, we assume that the faster germination rate of non-native populations is one potential explanation for the invasion success of Ulmus pumila in its new range since it might provide a competitive advantage during colonization of new sites.
Author affiliation: Hirsch, Heidi. Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg; Alemania
Author affiliation: Wypior, Catherina. Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg; Alemania
Author affiliation: von Wehrden, Henrik. Leuphana Universität Lüneburg; Alemania
Author affiliation: Wesche, Karsten. Senckenberg Museum für Naturkunde Görlitz; Alemania
Author affiliation: Renison, Daniel. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Córdoba. Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas y Tecnológicas. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales. Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas y Tecnológicas; Argentina. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales. Centro de Ecología y Recursos Naturales Renovables; Argentina
Author affiliation: Hensen, Isabell. Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg; Alemania
Repository: CONICET Digital (CONICET). Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas