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Niche dynamics of alien species do not differ among sexual and apomictic flowering plants.

Dellinger, A. and Essl, F. and Hojsgaard, D. and Kirchheimer, B. and Klatt, S. and Dawson, W. and Pergl, J. and Pyšek, P. and van Kleunen, M. and Weber, E. and Winter, M. and Hörandl, E. and Dullinger, S. (2016) 'Niche dynamics of alien species do not differ among sexual and apomictic flowering plants.', New phytologist., 209 (3). pp. 1313-1323.


Biological invasions can be associated with shifts of the species’ climatic niches but the incidence of such shifts is under debate. The reproductive system might be a key factor controlling such shifts because it influences a species’ evolutionary flexibility. However, the link between reproductive systems and niche dynamics in plant invasions has been little studied so far. We compiled global occurrence data sets of 13 congeneric sexual and apomictic species pairs, and used principal components analysis (PCA) and kernel smoothers to compare changes in climatic niche optima, breadths and unfilling/expansion between native and alien ranges. Niche change metrics were compared between sexual and apomictic species. All 26 species showed changes in niche optima and/or breadth and 14 species significantly expanded their climatic niches. However, we found no effect of the reproductive system on niche dynamics. Instead, species with narrower native niches showed higher rates of niche expansion in the alien ranges. Our results suggest that niche shifts are frequent in plant invasions but evolutionary potential may not be of major importance for such shifts. Niche dynamics rather appear to be driven by changes of the realized niche without adaptive change of the fundamental climatic niche.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2015 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2015 New Phytologist Trust This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:31 August 2015
Date deposited:14 April 2016
Date of first online publication:28 October 2015
Date first made open access:No date available

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