The role of preadaptation, propagule pressure and competition in the colonization of new habitats

Adriana Alzate*, Renske E. Onstein, Rampal S. Etienne, Dries Bonte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

To successfully colonize new habitats, organisms not only need to gain access to it, they also need to cope with the selective pressures imposed by the local biotic and abiotic conditions. The number of immigrants, the preadaptation to the local habitat and the presence of competitors are important factors determining the success of colonization. Here, using two experimental set-ups, we studied the effect of interspecific competition in combination with propagule pressure and preadaptation on the colonization success of new habitats. Our model system consisted of tomato plants (the novel habitat), the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae as our focal species and the red spider mite Tetranychus evansi as a competitor. Our results show that propagule pressure and preadaptation positively affect colonization success. More successful populations reach larger final population sizes either by having higher per capita growth rates (due to preadaptation effects) or by starting a population with a larger number of individuals. Although populations are more successful colonizing non-competitive environments than competitive ones, propagule pressure and preadaptation counteract the negative effects of competition, promoting colonization success. Our study shows the importance of propagule pressure and preadaptation for successful colonization of new habitats by providing the ability to cope with both the exigencies of new environments and the community context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)820-829
Number of pages10
JournalOikos
Volume129
Issue number6
Early online date3-Feb-2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2020

Keywords

  • competition
  • per capita growth rate
  • population size
  • preadaptation
  • propagule pressure
  • spider mites
  • TETRANYCHUS-URTICAE ACARI
  • SPIDER-MITE
  • POPULATION-DYNAMICS
  • PLANT DEFENSE
  • LIFE-HISTORY
  • EVANSI ACARI
  • ADAPTATION
  • SUCCESS
  • SIZE
  • EVOLUTION

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