Faculté des sciences

Explaining variability in the production of seed and allergenic pollen by invasive Ambrosia artemisiifolia across Europe

Lommen, Suzanne T. E. ; Hallmann, Caspar A. ; Jongejans, Eelke ; Chauvel, Bruno ; Leitsch-Vitalos, Melinda ; Aleksanyan, Alla ; Tóth, Peter ; Preda, Cristina ; Šćepanović, Maja ; Onen, Huseyin ; Tokarska-Guzik, Barbara ; Anastasiu, Paulina ; Dorner, Zita ; Fenesi, Annamária ; Karrer, Gerhard ; Nagy, Katalin ; Pinke, Gyula ; Tiborcz, Viktor ; Zagyvai, Gergely ; Zalai, Mihály ; Kazinczi, Gabriella ; Leskovšek, Robert ; Stešević, Danijela ; Fried, Guillaume ; Kalatozishvili, Levani ; Lemke, Andreas ; Müller-Schärer, Heinz

In: Biological Invasions, 2017, p. 1–17

To better manage invasive populations, it is vital to understand the environmental drivers underlying spatial variation in demographic performance of invasive individuals and populations. The invasive common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, has severe adverse effects on agriculture and human health, due to its vast production of seeds and allergenic pollen. Here, we identify the scale and... Plus

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    Summary
    To better manage invasive populations, it is vital to understand the environmental drivers underlying spatial variation in demographic performance of invasive individuals and populations. The invasive common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, has severe adverse effects on agriculture and human health, due to its vast production of seeds and allergenic pollen. Here, we identify the scale and nature of environmental factors driving individual performance of A. artemisiifolia, and assess their relative importance. We studied 39 populations across the European continent, covering different climatic and habitat conditions. We found that plant size is the most important determinant in variation of per-capita seed and pollen production. Using plant volume as a measure of individual performance, we found that the local environment (i.e. the site) is far more influential for plant volume (explaining 25% of all spatial variation) than geographic position (regional level; 8%) or the neighbouring vegetation (at the plot level; 4%). An overall model including environmental factors at all scales performed better (27%), including the weather (bigger plants in warm and wet conditions), soil type (smaller plants on soils with more sand), and highlighting the negative effects of altitude, neighbouring vegetation and bare soil. Pollen and seed densities varied more than 200-fold between sites, with highest estimates in Croatia, Romania and Hungary. Pollen densities were highest on arable fields, while highest seed densities were found along infrastructure, both significantly higher than on ruderal sites. We discuss implications of these findings for the spatial scale of management interventions against A. artemisiifolia.