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Abstract Detail

Phenology and Conservation Implications

Davis, Charles [1], Willis, Charles [2], Wolkovich, Elizabeth [3].

Favorable climate change response and earlier flowering are correlated with non-native species' success in temperate systems.

Non-native,and especially invasive, species have tremendous ecological and economic impacts. A small number of studies have shown that species that advance their phenology (i.e., the timing of seasonal activities, such as flowering) with climate change have historically increased in abundance - with non-native species representing the strongest climate change responders in their respective communities. Here, we test whether non-native species' success is correlated with their historical phenological response across six communities,representing diverse temperate ecosystems and latitudes. We find that there is strong signal for non-native species to both: (i) track climate change by advancing phenology with warming more than native species and (ii) flower earlier than natives. Our results are robust when considering evolutionary relatedness, and indicate that non-natives bloom much earlier than native species to which they are most closely related. Across other systems where temperature control is less dominant - e.g., tallgrass prairies and alpine meadows' results suggest non-native species exhibit distinct phenologies from native species but may not track temperature better than natives. These results suggest that recent climate change may have provided novel temporal niche space at the start of spring, which the earliest and most phenologically plastic species have exploited. More broadly, these findings provide support for basic invasion biology theory of the importance of vacant niches and trait plasticity in determining invader success. They also provide one of the first cross-site studies showing a trait that may consistently predict invasion success intemperate systems.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Harvard University, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University Herbaria, 22 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA
2 - Duke Univerity
3 - Univeristy of British Colombia

climate change
invasive species

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: C7
Location: Union C/Hyatt
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Time: 2:00 PM
Number: C7003
Abstract ID:979

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