Invasive stages within alien species and Hutchinson's duality: an example using invasive plants of the family Fabaceae in central Chile.
To understand the factors that limit invasive expansion in alien species, it is critical to predict potential zones of colonization. Climatic niche can be an important way to predict the potential distribution of alien species. This correlation between niche and geographic distribution is called Hutchinson's duality. A combination of global and regional niches allows four invasive stages to be identified: quasi-equilibrium, local adaptation, colonization and sink stage. We studied the invasive stages of six alien leguminous species either in the niche or the geographical space. In five of the six species, a higher proportion of populations were in the quasi-equilibrium stage. Notably, Acacia species had the highest proportion of populations in local adaptation. This picture changed dramatically when we projected the climatic niche in the geographic space: in all species the colonization stage had the highest proportional projected area, ranging from 50 to 90%. Our results are consistent with Hutchinson's duality, which predicts that small areas in the niche space can be translated onto large areas of the geographic space. Although the colonization stage accounted for a low proportion of occurrences, in all species, the models predicted the largest areas for this stage. This study complements invasive stages, projecting them in geographic space.