Plant community diversity and invasibility by exotics: invasion of Mediterranean old fields by Conyza bonariensis and Conyza canadensis


Anne-Hélène Prieur-Richard E-mail:


A series of communities were established in situ to differentiate the effects of species richness, functional richness and functional group identity on invasibility of Mediterranean annual old fields. We monitored the demographic and vegetative parameters of two exotic annuals introduced as seedlings, Conyza bonariensis and C. canadensis. Community species richness and functional composition determined resistance to invasion by Conyza.Conyza bonariensis biomass decreased with increasing species richness. Legumes increased the biomass and consequently the net fecundity of both Conyza, while survival was favoured by Asteraceae. Communities with fewer Asteraceae and grasses increased the reproductive effort of C. bonariensis. A separate glasshouse experiment using the same species mixes revealed that establishment of Conyza decreased with increasing species richness or when grasses were present. Patterns of Conyza performance are interpreted in the light of measurements of ecosystem functional parameters, making it possible to formulate hypotheses about mechanisms limiting community invasibility.