Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Propagule pressure and the establishment of emergent polyploid populations.

Abstract

Background: Whereas the incidence or rate of polyploid speciation in flowering plants is modest, the production of polyploid individuals within local populations is widespread. Explanations for this disparity primarily have focused on properties or interactions of polyploids that limit their persistence. Hypothesis: The emergence of local polyploid populations within diploid populations is similar to the arrival of invasive species at new, suitable sites, with the exception that polyploids suffer interference from their progenitor(s). The most consistent predictor of successful colonization by invasive plants is propagule pressure, i.e. the number of seeds introduced. Therefore, insufficient propagule pressure, i.e. the formation of polyploid seeds within diploid populations, ostensibly is a prime factor limiting the establishment of newly emergent polyploids within local populations. Increasing propagule number reduces the effects of genetic, environmental and demographic stochasticity, which thwart population survival. As with invasive species, insufficient seed production within polyploid populations limits seed export, and thus reduces the chance of polyploid expansion. Conclusion: The extent to which propagule pressure limits the establishment of local polyploid populations remains to be determined, because we know so little. The numbers of auto- or allopolyploid seed in diploid populations rarely have been ascertained, as have the numbers of newly emergent polyploid plants within diploid populations. Moreover, seed production by these polyploids has yet to be assessed.