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Oecologia. 2010 Feb;162(2):371-81. doi: 10.1007/s00442-009-1480-0. Epub 2009 Oct 29.

Effects of genotype identity and diversity on the invasiveness and invasibility of plant populations.

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  • 1Department of Botany, Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada. mvellend@interchange.ubc.ca


Genetic diversity within species is a potentially important, but poorly studied, determinant of plant community dynamics. Here we report experiments testing the influence of genotype identity and genotypic diversity both on the invasibility of a foundation, matrix-forming species (Kentucky bluegrass, Poa pratensis), and on the invasiveness of a colonizing species (dandelion, Taraxacum officinale). Genotypes of Kentucky bluegrass in monoculture showed significant variation in productivity and resistance to dandelion invasion, but the productivity and invasion resistance of genotypic mixtures were not significantly different from those of genotypic monocultures. Indirect evidence suggested temporal shifts in the genotypic composition of mixtures. Dandelion genotypes in monoculture showed striking and significant variation in productivity and seed production, but there was no significant tendency for these variables in mixtures to deviate from null expectations based on monocultures. However, productivity and seed production of dandelion mixtures were consistently greater than those of the two least productive genotypes, and statistically indistinguishable from those of the three most productive genotypes, suggesting the possibility of greater invasiveness of genotypically diverse populations in the long run due to dominance by highly productive genotypes. In both experiments, the identity of genotypes was far more important than genetic diversity per se.

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