A1 Journal article – refereed
Demographic strategies of plant invaders in temporally varying environments

List of Authors: Li SL, Ramula S
Publisher: Springer JAPAN KK
Publication year: 2015
Journal: Population Ecology
Journal name in source: POPULATION ECOLOGY
Journal acronym: Popul Ecol
Volume number: 57
Issue number: 2
Number of pages: 8
ISSN: 1438-3896


Plant populations may have evolved different demographic strategies to cope with temporal environmental variation. According to the demographic buffering hypothesis, vital rates that are most critical to population persistence are buffered against environmental variation and vary little over time, whereas the demographic lability hypothesis suggests that populations may track and benefit from environmental variation. While the hypotheses of demographic strategies have been widely tested in plant and animal species, they have not been explicitly examined for invasive plants, or in relation to different modelling methods (deterministic vs. stochastic). Here, we tested the demographic buffering and lability hypotheses for 23 populations of eight invasive plant species in relation to life form (woody vs. herbaceous species) and population growth rate using deterministic and stochastic modelling methods, and absolute and relative scales. We found that conclusions of demographic strategies depended on scale, with an absolute scale resulting in stronger negative correlations between the variability and importance of vital rates (i.e., buffering) than a relative scale. Conclusions of demographic strategies were also affected by life form that interacted with method. The populations of woody invaders exhibited buffering regardless of the method used, while for the populations of herbaceous species, deterministic calculations suggested buffering and stochastic calculations suggested lability. Overall, our findings emphasise the role of life form and methodological issues that need to be considered when exploring demographic strategies in fluctuating environments.

Last updated on 2019-29-01 at 17:09