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Fruit traits of vertebrate-dispersed alien plants: smaller seeds and more pulp sugar than indigenous species

Gosper, C.R. and Vivian-Smith, G. (2010) Fruit traits of vertebrate-dispersed alien plants: smaller seeds and more pulp sugar than indigenous species. Biological Invasions, 12 (7). pp. 2153-2163.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10530-009-9617-y

Publisher URL: http://www.springerlink.com

Abstract

Vertebrates play a major role in dispersing seeds of fleshy-fruited alien plants. However, we know little of how the traits of alien fleshy fruits compare with indigenous fleshy fruits, and how these differences might contribute to invasion success. In this study, we characterised up to 38 fruit morphology, pulp nutrient and phenology traits of an assemblage of 34 vertebrate-dispersed alien species in south-eastern Queensland, Australia. Most alien fruits were small (81%\15 mm in mean width), and had watery fruit pulps that were high in sugars and low in nitrogen and lipids. When compared to indigenous species, alien fruits had significantly smaller seeds. Further, alien fruit pulps contained more sugar and more variable (and probably greater) nitrogen per pulp wet weight, and species tended to have longer fruiting seasons than indigenous species. Our analyses suggest that fruit traits could be important in determining invasiveness and could be used to improve pre- and post-border weed risk assessment.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:DEEDI, Biosecurity Queensland
Additional Information:© Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Keywords:Bird-dispersed; fleshy fruit; fruit morphology; frugivory; invasive plant; pulp nutrients; chemical composition; introduced species; invasive species; nitrogen content; phenology; plant composition; plant morphology; seed size; seeds; sugar content; exotic organisms; exotic species; introduced organisms; invasive organisms; non-native organisms; non-native species.
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Weed ecology
Science > Biology > Ecology
Deposited On:24 Aug 2010 01:29
Last Modified:14 Sep 2010 06:44

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