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Data from: Phylogenetic and functional distinctiveness explain alien plant population responses to competition

Citation

Levin, Sam et al. (2020), Data from: Phylogenetic and functional distinctiveness explain alien plant population responses to competition, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3j9kd51fb

Abstract

Several invasion hypotheses predict a positive association between phylogenetic and functional distinctiveness of aliens and their performance, leading to the idea that distinct aliens compete less with their resident communities. However, synthetic pattern relationships between distinctiveness and alien performance and direct tests of competition as the driving mechanism have not been forthcoming. This is likely because different patterns are observed at different spatial grains, because functional trait and phylogenetic information are often incomplete, and due to the need for competition experiments that measure demographic responses across a variety of alien species that vary in their distinctiveness. We conduct a competitor removal experiment and parameterize matrix population and integral projection models for 14 alien plant species. More novel aliens compete less strongly with co-occurring species in their community, but these results dissipate at a larger spatial grain of investigation. Further, we find that functional traits used in conjunction with phylogeny improve our ability to explain competitive responses. Our investigation shows that competition is an important mechanism underlying the differential success of alien species.