Data from: Is there any evidence for rapid, genetically-based, climatic niche expansion in the invasive common ragweed?
Gallien, Laure et al. (2017), Data from: Is there any evidence for rapid, genetically-based, climatic niche expansion in the invasive common ragweed?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.pp72j
Climatic niche shifts have been documented in a number of invasive species by comparing the native and adventive climatic ranges in which they occur. However, these shifts likely represent changes in the realized climatic niches of invasive species, and may not necessarily be driven by genetic changes in climatic affinities. Until now the role of rapid niche evolution in the spread of invasive species remains a challenging issue with conflicting results. Here, we document a likely genetically-based climatic niche expansion of an annual plant invader, the common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.), a highly allergenic invasive species causing substantial public health issues. To do so, we looked for recent evolutionary change at the upward migration front of its adventive range in the French Alps. Based on species climatic niche models estimated at both global and regional scales we stratified our sampling design to adequately capture the species niche, and localized populations suspected of niche expansion. Using a combination of species niche modeling, landscape genetics models and common garden measurements, we then related the species genetic structure and its phenotypic architecture across the climatic niche. Our results strongly suggest that the common ragweed is rapidly adapting to local climatic conditions at its invasion front and that it currently expands its niche toward colder and formerly unsuitable climates in the French Alps (i.e. in sites where niche models would not predict its occurrence). Such results, showing that species climatic niches can evolve on very short time scales, have important implications for predictive models of biological invasions that do not account for evolutionary processes.