Luis R. Pertierra1, Inger G. Alsos2 and Pedro Aragón1
1Department of Biogeography and Global Change, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Spain
2Tromsø Museum, Uit – The Arctic University of Norway, Norway
Biological invasions across all latitudes are a growing concern. Invasion processes at tropical and temperate regions are widely studied allowing for meta-analyses of invasive traits (Kleuven et al. 2010). However, there are fewer studies on the determinants of invasiveness at cold regions. Traits that promote invasiveness may largely vary due to the prevailing ecological limiting factors across regions. While temperate and tropical areas are subjected to a strong biotic competition, abiotic conditions of polar areas may be particularly stressful for plant invaders. Also, biological invasions are less numerous due to the relative isolation as well as relatively low human interference in polar regions. While there are few in-depth studies of their performance in relation to native species, the list of introductions is well documented (Frenot et al. 2006). Thus, we were able to analyse the prevailing patterns of traits associated with invasiveness in the most represented families Poaceae, Caryophyllaceae, and Asteraceae. We compiled and analyzed a list of traits from an extensive list of reported non-native plants historically found at nine representative islands of Arctic and Antarctic/Subantarctic regions. The number of sites colonized by a species is related to traits such as temperature and precipitation tolerance, plant height, seed production or human cohabitation. The observed patterns are discussed in light of global change scenarios, taxonomic relationships and cold areas regionalization.
van Kleunen M., Weber E. et al. (2010) A meta-analysis of trait differences between invasive and non-invasive plant species. Ecology Letters 13: 235–245.
Frenot Y., Chown S. L. et al. (2005). Biological invasions in the Antarctic: extent, impacts and implications. Biological Reviews 80: 45–72.