Silvia Giulio1, Alicia Teresa Rosario Acosta1, Carboni Marta1, Juan Antonio Campos2, Milan Chytrý3, Mercedes Herrera2, Javier Loidi2, Jan Pergl4, Petr Pyšek4, Maike Isermann5, John A. M. Janssen6, Zygmunt Kącki7, John S. Rodwell8, Joop H. J. Schaminée9 and Corrado Marcenò2
1Roma Tre University, Viale Marconi 446, 00146 Rome, Italy
2University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Bilbao, Spain
3Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
4Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Průhonice, Czech Republic
5Department of Ecology, Bremen University, Bremen, Germany
6Wageningen Environmental Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands
7Department of Vegetation Ecology, Botanical Garden, University of Wroclaw, Wrocław, Poland
8Lancaster University, Derwent Road, Lancaster, United Kingdom
9Wageningen Environmental Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands
The spread of alien species in new environments is one of the main drivers of biodiversity decline in a growing number of ecosystems worldwide. In Europe, it is expected to increase with socioeconomic activities and ongoing climate change, especially in coastal areas which are vulnerable, but highly important for human wellbeing. The coastal dunes of Europe are an ideal model system to analyse invasion processes in habitats across varying disturbance regimes, because they display contrasting diversity patterns along ecological and geographical gradients (Marcenò et al. 2018). Thus, we analysed, for the first time, the composition of alien flora of the coastal dunes at a broad biogeographical scale in pioneer habitats (shifting dunes and grey dunes) across the main European coastal regions (Atlantic, Baltic, Black Sea and Mediterranean coasts). The data were obtained from the European Vegetation Archive (EVA; Chytrý et al. 2016). We asked the following questions: (i) what is the level of invasion across the coastal dunes along Europe? (ii) what invasion trajectories of alien species reach these dune systems? (iii) what life forms are most frequent among the alien plants? and (iv) how different alien species distribute across the main gradients? We observed high levels of invasion, in particular by annual herbs and by generalist species that at the same time have subtle adaptations to specific habitats and coastal regions. Invasion levels did not vary sensibly across the habitats but did so across specific coastal regions, with the highest alien richness on Atlantic dunes and the highest relative frequency of few alien species on Black Sea dunes. North America was the main donor of alien plants and the Mediterranean basin was reconfirmed as being more of a donor than a recipient of alien plants. Overall, the study provides a comprehensive assessment of alien plant invasions in the coastal dunes around Europe, and may represent a contribution for priorities establishment in invasion management strategies, both at the European and inter-regional level.
Marcenò C., Guarino R., Loidi J., Herrera M., Isermann M., Knollová I. … & Iakushenko D. (2018) Classification of European and Mediterranean coastal dune vegetation. Appl. Veg. Sci. 21: 533–559.
Chytrý M., Hennekens S. M., Jiménez‐Alfaro B., Knollová I., Dengler J., Jansen F., … & Ambarlı D. (2016) European Vegetation Archive (EVA): an integrated database of European vegetation plots. Appl. Veg. Sci. 19: 173–180.