Phenotypes and environment predict seedling survival with invasive grass

Journal article icon

View article.

Sampling seven taxa from the same sites allowed us to ask how trait–environment–performance associations differ among taxa and whether natural selection favors similar traits across multiple taxa and functional groups. All taxa showed trait–environment associations consistent with local adaptation, and both environment of origin and phenotypes predicted survival in competitive restoration settings, with some commonalities among taxa. Notably, rapid emergence and larger seeds increased survival for multiple taxa. Environmental factors at collection sites, including lower slopes (especially for grasses), greater mean annual temperatures (especially for shrubs and forbs), and greater precipitation seasonality were frequently associated with increased survival. We noted one collection site with high seedling survival across all seven taxa, suggesting that conditions within some sites may result in selection for traits that increase establishment for multiple species. Thus, choosing native plant sources with the most adaptive traits, along with matching climates, will likely improve the restoration of invaded communities.

Stay Connected