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Invasion stages help resolve Darwin’s naturalization conundrum

Charles Darwin suggested that phylogenetic distance between introduced aliens and natives might determine invasion success, but he was inconclusive about the direction of the relationship. An analysis of alien plants introduced to Southern Africa for cultivation reveals that the relationship changes direction from one invasion stage to the other.

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Fig. 1: Global phylogenetic tree of cultivated and naturalized species in Southern Africa.

References

  1. Darwin, C. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (John Murray, 1859). This famous book by Darwin introduces species evolution.

  2. Thuiller, W. et al. Resolving Darwin’s naturalization conundrum: a quest for evidence. Divers. Distrib. 16, 461–475 (2010). A Review article that presents inconsistent outcomes of Darwin’s naturalization conundrum tests.

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  3. Richardson, D. M. et al. Naturalization and invasion of alien plants: concepts and definitions. Divers. Distrib. 6, 93–107 (2000). A Review article that conceptualizes the naturalization and invasion process.

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  4. Omer, A. et al. Characteristics of the naturalized flora of Southern Africa largely reflect the non-random introduction of alien species for cultivation. Ecography 44, 1812–1825 (2021). This paper reports on the implications of ignoring alien species’ introduction bias.

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This is a summary of: Omer, A. et al. The role of phylogenetic relatedness on alien plant success depends on the stage of invasion. Nat. Plants https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-022-01216-9 (2022).

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Invasion stages help resolve Darwin’s naturalization conundrum. Nat. Plants 8, 873–874 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-022-01215-w

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-022-01215-w

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