Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Seed germination and seedling establishment of an invasive tropical tree species under different climate change scenarios.

Abstract

Increasing air temperature and atmospheric CO 2 levels may affect the distribution of invasive species. Whereas there is wide knowledge on the effect of global change on temperate species, responses of tropical invasive species to these two global change drivers are largely unknown. We conducted a greenhouse experiment on Terminalia catappa L. (Combretaceae), an invasive tree species on Brazilian coastal areas, to evaluate the effects of increased air temperature and CO 2 concentration on seed germination and seedling growth on the island of Santa Catarina (Florianópolis, Brazil). Seeds of the invasive tree were subjected to two temperature levels (ambient and +1.6°C) and two CO 2 levels (ambient and ~650 ppmv) with a factorial design. Increased temperature enhanced germination rate and shortened germination time of T. catappa seeds. It also increased plant height, number of leaves and above-ground biomass. By contrast, increased atmospheric CO 2 concentration had no significant effects, and the interaction between temperature and CO 2 concentration did not affect any of the measured traits. Terminalia catappa adapts to a relatively broad range of environmental conditions, being able to tolerate cooler temperatures in its invasive range. As T. catappa is native to tropical areas, global warming might favour its establishment along the coast of subtropical South America, while increased CO 2 levels seem not to have significant effects on seed germination or seedling growth.