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Open AccessArticle

Plant Community Assembly in Invaded Recipient Californian Grasslands and Putative Donor Grasslands in Spain

1
Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC), Avda. Américo Vespucio 26, Isla de la Cartuja, 41092 Seville, Spain
2
Department of Ecology, Brandenburg University of Technology, 03046 Cottbus, Germany
3
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
4
Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of Seville, C/Profesor García González S/N, 41012 Seville, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050193
Received: 17 April 2020 / Revised: 9 May 2020 / Accepted: 12 May 2020 / Published: 14 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Assembly and Biological Invasions)
The introduction of exotic species to new regions offers opportunities to test fundamental questions in ecology, such as the context-dependency of community structure and assembly. Annual grasslands provide a model system of a major unidirectional introduction of plant species from Europe to North America. We compared the community structure of grasslands in two Mediterranean regions by surveying plots in Spain and in California with similar environmental and management conditions. All species found in Spanish grasslands were native to Spain, and over half of them (74 of 139 species) are known to have colonized California. In contrast, in California, over half of the species (52 of 95 species) were exotic species, all of them native to Spain. Nineteen species were found in multiple plots in both regions (i.e., shared species). The abundance of shared species in California was either similar to (13 species) or greater than (6 species) in Spain. In California, plants considered pests were more likely than non-pest species to have higher abundance. Co-occurring shared species tended to maintain their relative abundance in native and introduced communities, which indicates that pools of exotic species might assemble similarly at home and away. These findings provide interesting insights into community assembly in novel ecosystems. They also highlight an example of startling global and local floristic homogenization.
Keywords: biogeographical comparisons; community similarity; exotic plants; Mediterranean grasslands; pests; plant invasions; species abundance biogeographical comparisons; community similarity; exotic plants; Mediterranean grasslands; pests; plant invasions; species abundance
MDPI and ACS Style

Galán Díaz, J.; de la Riva, E.G.; Parker, I.M.; Leiva, M.J.; Bernardo‐Madrid, R.; Vilà, M. Plant Community Assembly in Invaded Recipient Californian Grasslands and Putative Donor Grasslands in Spain. Diversity 2020, 12, 193.

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