Drought affects the performance of native oak seedlings more strongly than competition with invasive crested wattle seedlings

Santamarina, S., Montesinos, D., Alfaro-Saiz, E., and Acedo, C. (2022) Drought affects the performance of native oak seedlings more strongly than competition with invasive crested wattle seedlings. Plant Biology, 24 (7). pp. 1297-1305.

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Two of the most important processes threatening vulnerable plant species are competitive displacement by invasive alien species and water stress due to global warming. Quercus lusitanica, an oak shrub species with remarkable conservation interest, could be threatened by the expansion of the invasive alien tree Paraserianthes lophantha. However, it is unclear how competition would interact with predicted reductions in water availability due to global climate change. We set up a full factorial experiment to examine the direct interspecific competition between P. lophantha and Q. lusitanica seedlings under control and water-limited conditions. • We measured seed biomass, germination, seedling emergence, leaf relative growth rate, biomass, root/shoot ratio, predawn shoot water potential and mortality to assess the individual and combined effects of water stress and interspecific competition on both species. • Our results indicate that, at seedling stage, both species experience competitive effects and responses. However, water stress exhibited a stronger overall effect than competition. Although both species responded strongly to water stress, the invasive P. lophantha exhibited significantly less drought stress than the native Q. lusitanica based on predawn shoot water potential measurements. • The findings of this study suggest that the competition with invasive P. lophantha in the short term must not be dismissed, but that the long-term conservation of the native shrub Q. lusitanica could be compromised by increased drought as a result of global change. Our work sheds light on the combined effects of biological invasions and climate change that can negatively affect vulnerable plant species.

Item ID: 73326
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1438-8677
Copyright Information: © 2022 The Authors. Plant Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of German Society for Plant Sciences, Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2022 00:27
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410202 Biosecurity science and invasive species ecology @ 30%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 30%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 40%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180601 Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems @ 40%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180602 Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in terrestrial environments @ 30%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1901 Adaptation to climate change > 190102 Ecosystem adaptation to climate change @ 30%
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