Effects of light, temperature, and soil depth on the germination and emergence of Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronq.
Understanding the dynamics of invasive species under global climate change requires knowledge about the effects of environmental factors on germination and emergence. We considered Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronq., an invasive species that is quickly invading Southern European agricultural systems, and performed germination assays in growth chambers at eight constant temperatures with alternating light (2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 40 °C, with 12 h/12 h-light/dark), three alternating temperatures in alternating light (12/18, 17/23, and 22/28 °C, with 12 h/12 h-light/dark) and three fixed temperatures (15, 20, and 25 °C) in complete darkness. Furthermore, emergence assays were performed in pots considering four depths (0, 2.5, 5, and 10 mm), three temperatures with alternating light (15, 20, and 25 °C) and un-treated or pre-treated seeds (water imbibition and light for two days). C. canadensis was able to germinate in a wide range of temperatures (from 5-10 °C to 30 °C). The highest germination capacity was observed at 15 °C (light/dark); no differences were observed at 17/23 and 22/28 °C with respect to 20 and 25 °C (light/dark), while germinations were significantly reduced at 12/18 °C. The lowest germination time was observed at 25 °C (light/dark) and it was significantly increased at 12/18 °C and in darkness. The highest emergence was from 0 mm depth; pre-treatment significantly increased the emergence from 2.5 mm and 5 mm depth, but not from 10 mm depth. Modeling germination rates as a function of temperature allowed us to determine Tb = 6.8 °C (base temperature) and Tc = 35.8 °C (ceiling temperature). In light of these results, the potential for C. canadensis to spread into new environments and possible new management methods are discussed.