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Invasive plant species in changing alpine environments. Peter Edwards, Regula Billeter, Jake Alexander, Tim Seipel. General Aspects. high altitudes generally less prone to invasions low-altitude filter effects limited and directed connectivity genetic swamping of peripheral populations

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invasive plant species in changing alpine environments

Invasive plant species in changing alpine environments

Peter Edwards, Regula Billeter, Jake Alexander, Tim Seipel

general aspects
General Aspects
  • high altitudes generally less prone to invasions
    • low-altitude filter effects
    • limited and directed connectivity
    • genetic swamping of peripheral populations
  • evidence for increased spread into alpine habitats
    • possible gradual adaptation to local conditions
    • changing climatic conditions facilitate spread
projects
Projects
  • Jake Alexander:

Ecological amplitude and patterns of adaptation to altitude of native and introduced populations of European herb species

  • Tim Seipel:

Changing causal processes in plant invasions: a demographic and experimental approach along environmental gradients

  • Regula Billeter:

The influence of climate change and extreme weather events on plant invasions

the influence of climate change and extreme weather events on plant invasions
The influence of climate change and extreme weather events on plant invasions
  • interaction between climate change and biotic exchange very likely
  • may speed up invasion processes
  • changes in climate include higher temperatures, but also more extreme events
  • changes in plants already documented
  • high-altitude ecosystems especially vulnerable
  • interaction between climate change and invasions not yet tested
the influence of climate change and extreme weather events on plant invasions1
The influence of climate change and extreme weather events on plant invasions

Focus:

  • whether alien species can increase their growth, allocation and reproductive output more than native species under future climate scenarios
  • whether alien species can successfully invade native meadow communities under future climate scenarios
  • whether extreme weather events will counteract the general effects of climate change
  • how these changes will affect the invasiveness of alien species along an altitudinal gradient
project set up
Project set-up
  • Disentangling the effects of climate change and biotic invasions in a controlled garden experiment
    • microcosms of native meadow communities
    • invaders
    • manipulate climate and simulate extreme event (temp., flood, drought)
  • Invasiveness along an altitudinal gradient under higher mean temperatures and extreme weather events
    • Native vegetation
    • Invaders
    • Manipulate climate and simulate extreme event (temp., drought)
experimental set up

Scheme of the planned setup of the altitudinal gradients and experimental areas within gradients

1800 m.a.s.l.

1200 m.a.s.l.

600 m.a.s.l.

Slope 1

Slope 2

Slope 3

Experimental set-up