Climate change and micro-topography are facilitating the mountain invasion by a non-native perennial plant species

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Pensoft Publishers


Mountainous areas and their endemic plant diversity are threatened by global climate change and invasive species. Mountain plant invasions have historically been minimal, however, climate change and increased anthropogenic activity (e.g. roads and vehicles) are amplifying invasion pressure. We assessed plant performance (stem density and fruit production) of the invasive non-native forb Linaria dalmatica along three mountain roads, over an eight-year period (2008–2015) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), USA. We evaluated how L. dalmatica performed in response to elevation, changed over time, responded to climate and how the climate of our sites has changed, and compared elevation, climate, micro-topography (slope aspect and angle), and fruit production among sites with differing temporal trends. Linaria dalmatica stem density and fruit production increased with elevation and demonstrated two temporal groups, those populations where stem densities shrank and those that remained stable or grew over time. Stem density demonstrated a hump-shaped response to summer mean temperature, while fruit production decreased with summer mean maximum temperature and showed a hump-shaped response to winter precipitation. Analysis of both short and long-term climate data from our sites, demonstrated that summer temperatures have been increasing and winters getting wetter. The shrinking population group had a lower mean elevation, hotter summer temperatures, drier winters, had plots that differed in slope aspect and angle from the stable/growing group, and produced less fruit. Regional climate projections predict that the observed climate trends will continue, which will likely benefit L. dalmatica populations at higher elevations. We conclude that L. dalmatica may persist at lower elevations where it poses little invasive threat, and its invasion into the mountains will continue along roadways, expanding into higher elevations of the GYE



climate change


Larson, C. D., Pollnac, F. W., Schmitz, K., & Rew, L. J. (2021). Climate change and micro-topography are facilitating the mountain invasion by a non-native perennial plant species. NeoBiota, 65, 23.
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