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Ecology. 2012 Dec;93(12):2519-25.

Higher establishment success in more diverse groups of pygmy grasshoppers under seminatural conditions.

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Ecology and Evolution in Microbial Model Systems, EEMiS, School of Natural Sciences, Linnaeus University, SE-391 82 Kalmar, Sweden.


Large founder groups and habitat match have been shown to increase the establishment success of reintroduced populations. Theory posits that the diversity of founder groups should also be important, but this has rarely been investigated. Here, experimental introductions of color-polymorphic Tetrix subulata pygmy grasshoppers into outdoor enclosures were used to test whether higher phenotypic diversity promotes establishment success. We show that the number of individuals present one year after introduction increases with color morph diversity in founder groups. Variance in establishment success did not decrease with increasing founder diversity, arguing against an important contribution of sampling effects or evolutionary rescue. Color morphs in T. subulata covary with a suite of other functionally important traits and utilize different resources. The higher establishment success in more diverse founder groups may therefore result, in part, from niche complementarity. Variation in establishment among groups was not associated with differences among source populations in reproductive capacities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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