Plant invasions differentially affected by diversity and dominant species in native- and exotic-dominated grasslands
Plant invasions are an increasingly serious global concern, especially as the climate changes. Here, we explored how plant invasions differed between native- and novel exotic-dominated grasslands with experimental addition of summer precipitation in Texas in 2009. Exotic species greened up earlier than natives by an average of 18 days. This was associated with a lower invasion rate early in the growing season compared to native communities. However, invasion rate did not differ significantly between native and exotic communities across all sampling times. The predictors of invasion rate differed between native and exotic communities, with invasion being negatively influenced by species richness in natives and by dominant species in exotics. Interestingly, plant invasions matched the bimodal pattern of precipitation in Temple, Texas, and did not respond to the pulse of precipitation during the summer. Our results suggest that we will need to take different approaches in understanding of invasion between native and exotic grasslands. Moreover, with anticipated increasing variability in precipitation under global climate change, plant invasions may be constrained in their response if the precipitation pulses fall outside the normal growing period of invaders.
This article is published as Xu, Xia, H. Wayne Polley, Kirsten Hofmockel, Pedram P. Daneshgar, and Brian J. Wilsey. "Plant invasions differentially affected by diversity and dominant species in native‐and exotic‐dominated grasslands." Ecology and evolution 5, no. 23 (2015): 5662-5670. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1830. Posted with permission.