Article: article from journal or magazin.
Diaspore traits discriminate good from weak colonisers on high elevation summits
Basic and Applied Ecology
The richness of plant species in Swiss alpine-nival summits increased during the climate warming of the 20th century. Thirty-seven summits (2797-3418 m a.s.l.) with both old (~1900-1920) and recent (~2000) plant inventories were used to test whether biological species traits can explain the observed rates of summit colonisation. Species were classified into two groups: good colonisers (colonising five or more summits) and weak colonisers (fewer than five new summits). We compared species traits related to growth, reproduction and dispersal between these two groups and between the good colonisers and a group of high alpine grassland species. The observed colonisation pattern was subsequently compared to a simulated random colonisation pattern. The distribution of new species on the summits was not random, and 16 species exhibited a colonisation rate higher than expected by chance. Taraxacum alpinum aggr. and Cardamine resedifolia were the best colonisers. Results showed that diaspore traits enhancing long-distance dispersal were more frequent among good colonisers than among weak colonisers. Good colonisers were mostly characterised by pappi or narrow wings on their diaspores. Both groups were able to grow on soils more bare and rocky than species from the alpine grasslands. All other biological traits that we considered were similar among the three alpine species groups. These results are important for improving predictive models of species distribution under climate change
Alps, Climate change, Dispersal traits, Global warming, Long-term monitoring, Permanent plots, Plant migration, Switzerland
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