Ecotypic differentiation and phenotypic plasticity combine to enhance the invasiveness of the most widespread daisy in Chile, Leontodon saxatilis

Irene Martín-Forés, Marta Avilés, Belén Acosta-Gallo, Martin F. Breed, Alejandro Del Pozo, José M. De Miguel, Laura Sánchez-Jardón, Isabel Castro, Carlos Ovalle, Miguel A. Casado

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Abstract

Dispersal and reproductive traits of successful plant invaders are expected to undergo strong selection during biological invasions. Numerous Asteraceae are invasive and display dimorphic fruits within a single flower head, resulting in differential dispersal pathways - wind-dispersed fruits vs. non-dispersing fruits. We explored ecotypic differentiation and phenotypic plasticity of seed output and fruit dimorphisms in exotic Chilean and native Spanish populations of Leontodon saxatilis subsp. rothii. We collected flower heads from populations in Spain and Chile along a rainfall gradient. Seeds from all populations were planted in reciprocal transplant trials in Spain and Chile to explore their performance in the native and invasive range. We scored plant biomass, reproductive investment and fruit dimorphism. We observed strong plasticity, where plants grown in the invasive range had much greater biomass, flower head size and seed output, with a higher proportion of wind-dispersed fruits, than those grown in the native range. We also observed a significant ecotype effect, where the exotic populations displayed higher proportions of wind-dispersed fruits than native populations. Together, these patterns reflect a combination of phenotypic plasticity and ecotypic differentiation, indicating that Leontodon saxatilis has probably increased propagule pressure and dispersal distances in its invasive range to enhance its invasiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1546
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2017

Bibliographical note

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Keywords

  • invasive plants
  • Asteraceae
  • Chile
  • Spain

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    Martín-Forés, I., Avilés, M., Acosta-Gallo, B., Breed, M. F., Del Pozo, A., De Miguel, J. M., Sánchez-Jardón, L., Castro, I., Ovalle, C., & Casado, M. A. (2017). Ecotypic differentiation and phenotypic plasticity combine to enhance the invasiveness of the most widespread daisy in Chile, Leontodon saxatilis. Scientific Reports, 7(1), [1546]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-01457-1