We analysed the invasion history of two North American macrophytes (Elodea canadensis and E. nuttallii) in Italy, through an accurate census of all available herbarium and field records, dating between 1850 and 2019, and a rich literature collection describing the initial introduction and naturalisation phase that supports the results obtained by the occurrence records. Elodea canadensis arrived in Italy before 1866 and had two invasion phases, between the 1890s and 1920s and between the 1990s and 2000s; E. nuttallii, probably arrived in the 1970s, started invading in 2000 and the invasion is still ongoing. Botanical gardens and fish farming played a crucial role in dispersal and naturalisation of both species. The current invasion range of both species is centred in northern Italy, with scattered occurrences of E. canadensis in central and southern regions. River Po represents a dispersal barrier to the Mediterranean region and a strategic monitoring site to prevent the invasion in the peninsula. The study detects differences in the niches of the two species during the introduction and naturalisation phase and a habitat switch occurred after 1980 in E. canadensis and after 2000 in E. nuttallii, during their expansion phases. For E. canadensis the switch corresponds to the second invasion round. Further research can clarify whether the second invasion round is due to confusion of the recently introduced E. nuttallii with E. canadensis, to a cryptic introduction of a new genotype, to post-introduction evolution, or just to an increased scientific interest in biological invasions.

The invasion history of Elodea canadensis and E. nuttallii (Hydrocharitaceae) in Italy from herbarium accessions, field records and historical literature

Spampinato, G;
2022-01-01

Abstract

We analysed the invasion history of two North American macrophytes (Elodea canadensis and E. nuttallii) in Italy, through an accurate census of all available herbarium and field records, dating between 1850 and 2019, and a rich literature collection describing the initial introduction and naturalisation phase that supports the results obtained by the occurrence records. Elodea canadensis arrived in Italy before 1866 and had two invasion phases, between the 1890s and 1920s and between the 1990s and 2000s; E. nuttallii, probably arrived in the 1970s, started invading in 2000 and the invasion is still ongoing. Botanical gardens and fish farming played a crucial role in dispersal and naturalisation of both species. The current invasion range of both species is centred in northern Italy, with scattered occurrences of E. canadensis in central and southern regions. River Po represents a dispersal barrier to the Mediterranean region and a strategic monitoring site to prevent the invasion in the peninsula. The study detects differences in the niches of the two species during the introduction and naturalisation phase and a habitat switch occurred after 1980 in E. canadensis and after 2000 in E. nuttallii, during their expansion phases. For E. canadensis the switch corresponds to the second invasion round. Further research can clarify whether the second invasion round is due to confusion of the recently introduced E. nuttallii with E. canadensis, to a cryptic introduction of a new genotype, to post-introduction evolution, or just to an increased scientific interest in biological invasions.
Aquatic alien species
Invasive species
Freshwater
Herbarium samples
Floristic records
Historical records
Macrophytes
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/131347
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