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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Invasive Species and Pollinator Health » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #308196

Research Project: Landscape-Level Assessment and Management of Invasive Weeds and their Impacts in Agricultural and Natural Systems

Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health

Title: Changes in tussock architecture of invasive Spartina densiflora (Poaceae) along the Pacific Coast of North America

Author
item Castillo, Jesus - University Of Sevilla
item Grewell, Brenda
item Pickart, Andrea - Us Fish And Wildlife Service
item Bortolus, Alejandro - Centro Nacional Patagonico, Unidad De Investigacio´n De Ecologi´a Terrestre
item Figuerora, Manuel - University Of Sevilla
item Systma, Mark - Portland State University

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/5/2014
Publication Date: 12/16/2016
Citation: Castillo, J.M., Grewell, B.J., Pickart, A., Bortolus, A., Figuerora, M., Systma, M.D. 2016. Changes in tussock architecture of invasive Spartina densiflora (Poaceae) along the Pacific Coast of North America. Ainouche, M. (ed.) Proceedings 4th International Conference on Invasive Spartina, July 7/10, 2014 Universite de Rennes 1, Rennes, France, p. 95-100

Interpretive Summary: Spartina densiflora (austral cordgrass), native to southern South America, is an aggressive invader of estuarine ecosystems in North America and Europe. The invasion of S. densiflora across a wide latitudinal gradient from California (USA) to British Columbia (Canada) provides a natural model system to study the potential mechanisms underlying the response of invasive populations to substantial variation in climate and other environmental variables. It is important to link functional trait-based responses of invaders to environmental changes to improve our understanding of mechanisms that promote invasiveness. We compared architecture traits of tussocks from S. densiflora populations along the Pacific Coast of North America growing in contrasted habitats and we grew plants from the each of the studied field populations in a common garden experiment. Our results suggest plants from these populations are able to adjust key functional tussock traits across a wide latitudinal gradient in response to widely variable climate (specifically, air temperature) and sediment conditions. These results are important for invasive species risk assessment and management planning in the context of climate change.

Technical Abstract: It is important to link functional trait-based responses of invaders to environmental changes to improve our understanding of mechanisms that promote invasiveness. The invasion of alien Spartina densiflora Brongn. along the Pacific coast of North America provides a natural model system for studying the response of invasive populations to contrasted environments. We hypothesized populations of Spartina densiflora from this region would show different responses to the environment based mainly on phenotypic plasticity, since the species has been shown to have low genetic diversity . To probe this hypothesis, we compared architecture traits of tussocks from S. densiflora populations along the Pacific Coast of North America growing in contrasted habitats and we grew plants from the each of the studied field populations in a common garden experiment. Our results suggest plants from these populations are able to adjust key functional tussock traits across a wide latitudinal gradient in response to widely variable climate (specifically, air temperature) and sediment conditions.