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Numerous plant species have been introduced to non-native environments across the globe. Daucus carota was introduced to North America from Europe. Its extensive presence on Nantucket, an island off the coast of Massachusetts, has been documented at least since the nineteenth century. To address whether the presence of D. carota affects the pollination of native species on Nantucket, we sought to answer three questions: 1) Does the presence of D. carota increase pollinator visits and diversity on Sericocarpus asteroides? 2) Does the removal of D. carota restore pollinator visits and diversities to those found in plots with only S. asteroides? and 3) Is there a relationship between the amount of heterospecific pollen and distance to the nearest D. carota population? To answer these questions, we determined that both species attract the same pollinators by first observing pollinator visits on D. carota, then performing the same observational study on S. asteroides. We recorded pollinator visitors in S. asteroides populations that were in allopatry and sympatry with D. carota. We followed this study with a manipulative experiment within sympatric plots in which we removed D. carota inflorescences and again recorded pollinator visits. In addition, we assayed S. asteroides inflorescences from a range of distances from D. carota for the presence of heterospecific pollen. Both species were generalist pollinated, and S. asteroides received more visits in the presence of D. carota. After the removal of D. carota inflorescences, the number and diversity of visitors declined. Finally, whereas populations of S. asteroides close to D. carota receive more overall pollen, there was no increase in heterospecific pollen.
Alpine areas make excellent research sites for investigating questions of plant ecology due to harsh climatic filtering, compressed ecological/environmental gradients, limited species pools, and the presence of potentially isolated sub-populations on habitat islands. In northeastern North America, alpine areas are rare and potentially highly vulnerable to climate change. Despite a renewed focus by researchers on these ecosystems, much remains unknown about the environmental adaptations, species interactions, and dynamics of alpine species and communities in the region and how they may respond to future climate change. Here, we review the use of common garden experiments in alpine areas of northeastern North America and outline the many ways they can effectively address some of our region's most pressing questions in alpine plant ecology and conservation. We also present common garden research priorities, including investigating the influence of environmental conditions on plant trait variation, the response of populations and communities to environmental change, and identifying high-elevation ecotypes. Last, we present practical guidelines for future common garden research in the region, including discussions of experimental design, data collection and analysis, and interpretation and sharing of results.