Tuesday, 9 March 2010

First Review for F1000

Well, the review of the Willis paper on non-native vs. native species' response to climate change in Thoreau's wood is written, however, there is a small problem, someone else in F1000 already wrote a review and it was published today! Anyhow, here is both our review and that of Dr Michael Angilletta, Department of Biology, Indiana State University...   

Our Review
Mark Lonsdale: Faculty of 1000 Biology, 11 Mar 2010 http://f1000biology.com/article/id/2231956
Copyright F1000  

This is the first study I am aware of to demonstrate that non-native plants adapt better to climate change than native species.  It has significant implications for  management of the threat of invasive species under climate change.

The phenological response of flowering plants to climate plays an important role in their ability to adapt and survive.  The adaptability of their phenologies will  therefore determine their survival under climate change. This study uses a unique historical dataset from Concord, Massachusetts (USA) to provide a novel analysis of the different effects of rising temperatures (a mean increase of 2.4°C) in the last 150 years on native vs. non-native phenology.  The results indicate that (1) non-natives are significantly better able to track seasonal temperatures than native species (using a correlation coefficient between first flowering day and annual spring temperature) and (2) ‘Invasive’ non-natives have significantly shifted their flowering time over the last 100 years to be 11 days earlier on average than natives.  (Note the distinction in the paper between invasive non-natives -- those capable of spreading and dominating plant communities  -- and non-invasive non-natives -- those that are not judged capable spreading or becoming dominant.)

By demonstrating this ability of non-natives to better respond to climate change the results show an advantage non-natives may have over native species.  It will be interesting to explore the underlying causes of their greater adaptability, perhaps due to factors such as natural enemy release. 

Review by Michael Angilletta:
Copyright F1000   
This article presents alarming evidence that the flowering dates of invasive plants have better tracked long-term changes in temperature than have the flowering dates of native plants.
Willis and colleagues analyze long-term records of species abundance and flowering dates for native and non-native species of plants in Thoreau's Woods (Massachusetts, USA). Flowering dates of non-native species have tracked annual changes in temperature better than the flowering dates of native species. During the past 100 years, invasive non-natives have advanced their dates of first flowering to be 11 days earlier than natives. Not surprisingly, non-native species have also increased in abundance relative to native species. The authors could not detect any differences in morphological traits that might have explained the difference between the phenological responses of natives and non-natives. Assuming that shifts in phenology represent adaptive responses to climate change, the pattern revealed by this study has alarming implications for the future spread of non-native plants.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Hazel!

    We actually like to have multiple evaluations of the same paper. Makes our stats look good ;)