Data from: Invasive alien plants benefit more from clonal integration in heterogeneous environments than natives
Wang, Yong-Jian et al. (2017), Data from: Invasive alien plants benefit more from clonal integration in heterogeneous environments than natives, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4p3s0
What confers invasive alien plants a competitive advantage over native plants remains open to debate. Many of the world's worst invasive alien plants are clonal and able to share resources within clones (clonal integration), particularly in heterogeneous environments. Here, we tested the hypothesis that clonal integration benefits invasive clonal plants more than natives and thus confers invasives a competitive advantage.
We selected five congeneric and naturally co-occurring pairs of invasive alien and native clonal plants in China, and grew pairs of connected and disconnected ramets under heterogeneous light, soil nutrient and water conditions that are commonly encountered by alien plants during their invasion into new areas.
Clonal integration increased biomass of all plants in all three heterogeneous resource environments. However, invasive plants benefited more from clonal integration than natives. Consequently, invasive plants produced more biomass than natives.
Our results indicate that clonal integration may confer invasive alien clonal plants a competitive advantage over natives. Therefore, differences in the ability of clonal integration could potentially explain, at least partly, the invasion success of alien clonal plants in areas where resources are heterogeneously distributed.
National Science Foundation, Award: NSFC (31770449, 31570413, 31270465)