Hoffbeck, C. and C.P. terHorst. 2022.

Hoffbeck, C. and C.P. terHorst. 2022. Trait differences between and within ranges of an invasive species. Biological Invasions https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-022-02817-3. PDF

Abstract: Novel ecological interactions can drive natural selection in non-native species and trait evolution may increase the likelihood of invasion. We can gain insight into the potential role of evolution
in invasion success by comparing traits of successful individuals in the invasive range with the traits of
individuals from the native range in order to determine which traits are most likely to allow species to
overcome barriers to invasion. Here we used Medicago polymorpha, a non-native legume species from
the Mediterranean that has invaded six continents around the world, to quantify differences in life history traits among genotypes collected from the native and invasive range and grown in a common greenhouse environment. We found significant differences in fruit and seed production and biomass allocation between invasive and native range genotypes. Invasive genotypes had greater fecundity, but invested more energy into belowground growth relative to native genotypes. Beyond the variation between ranges, we found additional variation among genotypes within each range in flowering phenology, total biomass, biomass allocation, and fecundity. We found non-linear relationships between some traits and fitness that were much stronger for plants from the invasive range. These trait differences between ranges suggest that stabilizing selection on biomass, resource allocation, and flowering phenology imposed during or after introduction of this species may increase invasion success.
Keywords: Evolution · Genetic variation · Life history traits · Medicago polymorpha · Rapid evolution

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