Effects of self-compatibility on the distribution range of invasive european plants in North America
van Kleunen, M.
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Many plant species have been introduced to new continents, but only a small subset of these have become invasive. It has been predicted that self-compatible species, particularly those that do not need the services of pollinators, are more likely to establish and spread after long-distance dispersal. We tested whether this hypothesis, commonly called Baker’s law, applies to 361 species that have invaded the United States from Europe. Species capable of autonomous seed production occurred in significantly more states than species requiring a pollen vector. Moreover, of the species that are not capable of autonomous seed production, selfcompatible species occurred in significantly more states than those that are not self-compatible. The positive effect of autonomous seed production on the range of invasion was larger for abiotically pollinated species than for biotically pollinated species and for monocarpic species than for polycarpic species. These results support Baker’s law, and we recommend that screening protocols for predicting invasiveness of species considered for introduction should include assessment of their breeding system.
- RESEARCH: Johnson S