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  1. Abstract

    Phylogenetic and functional diversity are theorised to increase invasion resistance. Experimentally testing whether plant communities higher in these components of diversity are less invasible is an important step for guiding restoration designs.

    To investigate how phylogenetic and functional diversity of vegetation affect invasion resistance in a restoration setting, we used experimental prairie restoration plots. The experiment crossed three levels of phylogenetic diversity with two levels of functional diversity while species richness was held constant. We allowed invaders to colonise plots; these included native species from neighbouring plots and non‐native invasive species from a surrounding old field. We tested if invader biomass was influenced by phylogenetic and functional diversity, and phylogenetic and hierarchical trait distances between invaders and planted species. We binned each invader into three categories: native species from neighbouring experimental plots (site‐specific invaders), native species not part of the experimental species pool (native invaders) or non‐native species (non‐native invaders).

    Counter to expectation, both non‐native and native invaders became more abundant in more phylogenetically diverse plots. However, plots with higher abundance of planted Asteraceae, a dominant family of the tallgrass prairie, had lower invader biomass for both native and non‐native invaders.

    We also found that hierarchical trait differences shaped invasion. The species that became most abundant were non‐native invaders that were taller, and native invaders with low specific leaf area relative to planted species. Site‐specific invaders were not influenced by any plot‐level diversity metrics tested.

    Synthesis and application: Our results suggest that greater phylogenetic diversity may lower resistance to invasion. This effect may be due to more even but sparser niche packing in high‐diversity plots, associated with greater availability of unsaturated niche space for colonisation. However, trait composition fostered invasion resistance in two ways in our study. First, establishment of native species with strongly dominant traits may confer invasion resistance. Second, species mixes that optimise trait differences between planted vegetation and likely invaders may enhance invasion‐resistance.

     
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  2. Seed sourcing decisions affect short‐ and long‐term restoration outcomes. Seeds sourced closer to restoration sites are likely to be better adapted to local conditions and therefore may perform better than those sourced farther away, following assumptions of local adaptation. However, plants may not be adapted to future conditions under climate change; hence, managers are considering a predictive provenancing approach, where plant materials adapted to predicted conditions are used at a site. Currently, there is little empirical evidence available to inform this approach. To address this, we evaluate predictive provenancing using three species of forbs used in tallgrass prairie restorations (Allium cernuum,Chamaecrista fasciculata, andRudbeckia hirta) in a common garden experiment in northeastern Illinois, U.S.A. We compared the fitness in plants sourced from three regional zones across a latitudinal gradient that represents different climate projections, relative to the planting site. Data were analyzed using Aster life‐history models and generalized linear models. We found that source affected overall fitness in all three species, but no climate proxy had the highest fitness across all species. The performance at each life stage had different effects on overall fitness, which varied by source. We observed later reproductive phenology in southern‐sourced plants for all three species, possibly due to adaptation to longer growing seasons. The mixed results of this study suggest that climate proxy alone would not be sufficient to determine an effective and accurate predictive provenancing strategy. Long‐term tests are needed to pursue such a strategy for high‐priority species.

     
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  3. Abstract

    The prediction that higher biodiversity leads to denser niche packing and thus higher community resistance to invasion has long been studied, with species richness as the predominant measure of diversity. However, few studies have explored how phylogenetic and functional diversity, which should represent niche space more faithfully than taxonomic diversity, influence community invasibility, especially across longer time frames and over larger spatial extents.

    We used a 15‐year, 150‐site grassland dataset to assess relationships between invasive plant abundance and phylogenetic, functional and taxonomic diversity of recipient native plant communities. We analysed the dataset both pooled across all surveys and longitudinally, leveraging time‐series data to compare observed patterns in invasion with those predicted by two community assembly processes: biotic resistance and competitive exclusion. We expected more phylogenetically and functionally diverse communities to exhibit greater resistance to invasion.

    With the pooled dataset, we found support for the long‐standing observation that communities with more native species have lower abundance of invasive species, and a more novel finding that more phylogenetically diverse communities had higher abundance of invasive species. We found no influence of aggregate (multivariate) functional diversity on invasion, but assemblages with taller plants, lower variability in plant height and lower seed mass were less invaded. Viewed longitudinally, the phylogenetic diversity relationship was reversed: the most phylogenetically diverse communities were most resistant to invasion. This apparent discrepancy suggests invasion dynamics are influenced by both site attributes and biotic resistance and emphasizes the value in studying invasion across time.

    Synthesis. Our results provide insight into the nuances of the diversity–invasibility relationship: invasion dynamics differed for different dimensions of diversity and depending on whether the relationship was evaluated longitudinally. Our findings highlight the limitations of using single time‐point ‘snapshots’ of community composition to infer invasion mechanisms.

     
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