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Salinity, not genetic incompatibilities, limits the establishment of the invasive hybrid cattail Typha × glauca in coastal wetlands

Citation

Tisshaw, Kat; Freeland, Joanna; Dorken, Marcel (2021), Salinity, not genetic incompatibilities, limits the establishment of the invasive hybrid cattail Typha × glauca in coastal wetlands, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3tx95x6dh

Abstract

A single pair of co-existing species that can successfully hybridize may produce many more hybrids in some regions than in others. The reasons for this are not well understood, but could help explain processes such as species diversification or the range expansion of invasive hybrids.  The widespread cattails Typha latifolia and T. angustifolia seldom hybridize in some parts of their range, but in other areas produce the dominant hybrid T. × glauca.  We used a combination of field and greenhouse experiments to investigate why T. × glauca has invaded wetlands in the Laurentian Great Lakes region of southern Ontario, Canada, but is much less common in the coastal wetlands of NS in eastern Canada.  One potentially important environmental difference between these two regions is salinity.  We therefore tested three hypotheses: 1) T. latifolia and T. angustifolia in NS are genetically incompatible; 2) the germination or growth of T. × glauca is reduced by salinity; and 3) T. latifolia, a main competitor of T. × glauca, is locally adapted to saline conditions in NS.  Our experiments showed that NS T. latifolia and T. angustifolia are genetically compatible, and that saline conditions do not impede growth of hybrid plants.  However, we also found that under conditions of high salinity, germination rates of hybrid seeds were substantially lower than those of NS T. latifolia.  In addition, germination rates of NS T. latifolia were higher than those of Ontario T. latifolia, suggesting local adaptation to salinity in coastal wetlands.  This study adds to the growing body of literature which identifies the important roles that local habitat and adaptation can play in the distributions and characteristics of hybrid zones.