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1 January 2018 Salinity an Environmental “Filter” Selecting for Plant Invasiveness? Evidence from Indigenous Lepidium alyssoides on Chihuahuan Desert Shrublands
Triston N. Hooks, Geno A. Picchioni, Brian J. Schutte, Manoj K. Shukla, David L. Daniel, Jamshid Ashigh
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Abstract

A better understanding of site-specific factors such as soil salinity that regulate plant invasions is needed. We conducted a 3-mo greenhouse study to evaluate the salinity responses of three local maternal sources of Lepidium alyssoides, which is an indigenous species shown to aggressively colonize disturbed shrubland sites in the southwestern United States, including those affected by high salinity and sodicity. Results indicated that there were little or no population effects on plant evapotranspiration (ET), growth, and tissue Na and Cl concentrations. Significant reductions in seedling growth and ET were largely independent of various isosmotic saline irrigation solutions that included NaCl, Na2SO4, and CaCl2, each at-0.1MPa and-0.2MPa, suggesting that ET and growth were controlled by solution osmotic potential. The combined Na and Cl concentrations in leaves were 9–10% of dry weight with no visible sign of injury. However, increasing leaf mortality and abscission as a proportion of total leaf production was observed in the high-salt treatments (-0.2 MPa), with a combined Na and Cl concentration reaching 16% with high NaCl. Under saline conditions, considerable foliage salt loads of this species could deposit high-salt litter to potentially alter a landscape to its own favor and to the detriment of other salt-sensitive species. Results of this study add to a limited quantitative database on site-specific salinity factors governing plant invasions by showing the potential for these populations to behave invasively under saline conditions and, thus, potential for soil salinity assessment to predict incipient populations. However, due to its halophytic traits and indigenous status, L. alyssoides may alternatively provide ecosystem services to salinized shrublands of the arid and semiarid southwestern United States.

© 2017 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Triston N. Hooks, Geno A. Picchioni, Brian J. Schutte, Manoj K. Shukla, David L. Daniel, and Jamshid Ashigh "Salinity an Environmental “Filter” Selecting for Plant Invasiveness? Evidence from Indigenous Lepidium alyssoides on Chihuahuan Desert Shrublands ," Rangeland Ecology and Management 71(1), 106-114, (1 January 2018). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2017.07.007
Received: 22 December 2016; Accepted: 1 July 2017; Published: 1 January 2018
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KEYWORDS
arid and semiarid rangelands
Chloride
halophytes
native plants
osmotic effect
salt tolerance
sodium
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