Data from: Using multiple traits to assess the potential of introduced and native vines to proliferate in a tropical region
Delgado, Diana L.; Figueroa, Josimar; Restrepo, Carla (2017), Data from: Using multiple traits to assess the potential of introduced and native vines to proliferate in a tropical region, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1tj60
Predicting the invasive potential of introduced species remains an ongoing challenge due to the multiple interacting regional and global processes that facilitate the introduction and proliferation of alien species. This may be particularly true in regions where native species are increasingly reported as expanding and impacting ecosystems in ways indistinguishable from alien ones. Current approaches to assess the invasive potential of plants may be limited by the choice of traits used and the exclusion of native species. To overcome these limitations, we develop a novel approach that focuses on all species—native and alien—within a functional group of plants to predict their proliferation status. Our approach relied on the development of an extensive database of extrinsic and intrinsic traits for Puerto Rican vines with the goal of generating a predictive model of vine proliferation status. We test three hypotheses linking origin, extrinsic and intrinsic traits, and proliferation status. We found that the origin of proliferating vines was associated with only one out of seven traits, namely plant use. We also found that proliferation status was associated with all but two traits, namely life span and climbing mechanism. Finally, a classification tree analysis identified five variables as good predictors of proliferation status and used them to split the species into six groups characterized by a unique suite of traits, three of them included proliferating species. The development of tools to identify potential proliferating species is critical for management and conservation purposes. Tools that can minimize biases and make predictions based on trait data easily obtainable are particularly needed in regions with a high taxonomic and functional diversity, and with limited ecological knowledge of individual species. In addition, these tools should be capable of incorporating native species since an increasing number of native species are behaving like invasive aliens.