A1 Journal article – refereed
Linking vital rates to invasiveness of a perennial herb

List of Authors: Ramula S.
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Publication year: 2014
Journal: Oecologia
Journal name in source: Oecologia
Volume number: 174
Issue number: 4
ISSN: 0029-8549

Invaders generally show better individual performance than non-invaders and, therefore, vital rates (survival, growth, fecundity) could potentially be used to predict species invasiveness outside their native range. Comparative studies have usually correlated vital rates with the invasiveness status of species, while few studies have investigated them in relation to population growth rate. Here, I examined the influence of five vital rates (plant establishment, survival, growth, flowering probability, seed production) and their variability (across geographic regions, habitat types, population sizes and population densities) on population growth rate (λ) using data from 37 populations of an invasive, iteroparous herb (Lupinus polyphyllus) in a part of its invaded range in Finland. Variation in vital rates was often related to habitat type and population density. The performance of the populations varied from declining to rapidly increasing independently of habitat type, population size or population density, but differed between regions. The population growth rate increased linearly with plant establishment, and with the survival and growth of vegetative individuals, while the survival of flowering individuals and annual seed production were not related to λ. The vital rates responsible for rapid population growth varied among populations. These findings highlight the importance of both regional and local conditions to plant population dynamics, demonstrating that individual vital rates do not necessarily correlate with λ. Therefore, to understand the role of individual vital rates in a species ability to invade, it is necessary to quantify their effect on population growth rate. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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