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Ecological Applications, 18(5), 2008, pp. 12261235 2008 by the Ecological Society of America
 

Summary: Ecological Applications, 18(5), 2008, pp. 12261235
2008 by the Ecological Society of America
THE ADAPTIVE VALUE OF REMNANT NATIVE PLANTS
IN INVADED COMMUNITIES: AN EXAMPLE FROM THE GREAT BASIN
ELIZABETH A. LEGER
1
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Nevada, Reno, Mail Stop 186,
1000 Valley Road, Reno, Nevada 89512 USA
Abstract. Changes in the species composition of biotic communities may alter patterns of
natural selection occurring within them. Native perennial grass species in the Intermountain
West are experiencing a shift in the composition of interspecific competitors from primarily
perennial species to an exotic, annual grass. Thus traits that confer an advantage to perennial
grasses in the presence of novel annual competitors may evolve in invaded communities. Here
I show that such traits are apparent in populations of a native perennial grass, big squirreltail
(Elymus multisetus M.E. Jones), exposed to cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) competitors.
Dormant big squirreltail plants were collected from cheatgrass-invaded and uninvaded sites
near Bordertown, California, USA, a mid-elevation (1600 m) sagebrush community, and
transplanted into pots in a greenhouse. Individual plants were split into equal halves. One half
was grown with competition from cheatgrass, and the other half was grown without
competition. Plants collected from invaded sites responded more quickly to watering, growing

  

Source: Abella, Scott R. - School of Life Sciences, University of Nevada at Las Vegas
Leger, Elizabeth A. - Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Nevada, Reno

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology