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A central question of invasion biology is how an exotic species invades new habitats following its initial establishment. Three hypotheses to explain this expansion are: (1) the existence of ‘general purpose’ genotypes, (2) the in situ evolution of novel genotypes, and (3) the dispersal of existing specialized genotypes into habitats for which they are pre-adapted. Bromus tectorum is a selfing exotic winter annual grass that has achieved widespread dominance in semiarid western North America and that is actively invading salt desert habitats. We examined mechanisms driving this invasion in three complementary studies. In reciprocal seeding experiments with ten populations from saline playa, salt desert shrubland,...
Greenhouse experiments were undertaken to identify soil factors that curtail growth of the exotic annual grass Bromus tectorum L. (cheatgrass) without significantly inhibiting growth of native perennial grasses (here represented by Hilaria jamesii [Torr.] Benth). We grew B. tectorum and H. jamesii alone (monoculture pots) and together (combination pots) in soil treatments that manipulated levels of soil phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Hilaria jamesii showed no decline when its aboveground biomass in any of the applied treatments was compared to the control in either the monoculture or combination pots. Monoculture pots of B. tectorum showed a decline in aboveground biomass with the addition of Na2HPO4 and K2HPO4....
The effect of increasing salt concentrations (up to 200 mmol l-1 Cl-) on growth, succulence and mineral composition has been studied in some accessions of Salsola kali L. ssp. tragus (L.) Nyman and ssp. ruthenica (Iljin) Soo. Differences between accessions corresponded to the taxonomic distinction of subspecies. Dry weight was increased by 50 mmol l-1 NaCl in ssp. tragus, but not in ssp. ruthenica. Rising salinity increased shoot water content in both subspecies, but ssp. tragus was more succulent than ssp. ruthenica. In ssp. tragus potassium content decreased after NaCl treatment, and the accumulation of sodium was significantly higher than in ssp. ruthenica. Chloride content and total cation concentration were...