The relative importance of latitude matching and propagule pressure in the colonization success of an invasive forb


  • John L. Maron

J. L. Maron (, Div. of Biological Sciences, Univ. of Montana Missoula, MT 59812, USA.


Factors that influence the early stages of invasion can be critical to invasion success, yet are seldom studied. In particular, broad pre-adaptation to recipient climate may importantly influence early colonization success, yet few studies have explicitly examined this. I performed an experiment to determine how similarity between seed source and transplant site latitude, as a general indicator of pre-adaptation to climate, interacts with propagule pressure (100, 200 and 400 seeds/pot) to influence early colonization success of the widespread North American weed, St. John's wort Hypericum perforatum. Seeds originating from seven native European source populations were sown in pots buried in the ground in a field in western Montana. Seed source populations were either similar or divergent in latitude to the recipient transplant site. Across seed density treatments, the match between seed source and recipient latitude did not affect the proportion of pots colonized or the number of individual colonists per pot. In contrast, propagule pressure had a significant and positive effect on colonization. These results suggest that propagules from many climatically divergent source populations can be viable invaders.