Which traits promote persistence of feral GM crops? Part 2: implications of metapopulation structure

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Claessen, D., Gilligan, C. A. and Van Den Bosch, F. 2005. Which traits promote persistence of feral GM crops? Part 2: implications of metapopulation structure. Oikos. 110 (1), pp. 30-42. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0030-1299.2005.13668.x

AuthorsClaessen, D., Gilligan, C. A. and Van Den Bosch, F.

Transgenes may spread from crops into the environment via the establishment of feral populations, often initiated by seed spill from transport lorries or farm machinery. Locally, such populations are often subject to large environmental variability and usually do not persist longer than a few years. Because secondary feral populations may arise from seed dispersal to adjacent sites, the dynamics of such populations should be studied in a metapopulation context. We study a structured metapopulation model with local dispersal, mimicking a string of roadside subpopulations of a feral crop. Population growth is assumed to be subject to local disturbances, introducing spatially random environmental stochasticity. Our aim is to understand the role of dispersal and environmental variability in the dynamics of such ephemeral populations. We determine the effect of dispersal on the extinction boundary and on the distribution of persistence times, and investigate the influence of spatially correlated disturbances as opposed to spatially random disturbances. We find that, given spatially random disturbances, dispersal slows down the decline of the metapopulation and results in the occurrence of long-lasting local populations which remain more or less static in space. We identify which life history traits, if changed by genetic modification, have the largest impact on the population growth rate and persistence times. For oilseed rape, these are seed bank survival and dormancy. Combining our findings with literature data on transgene-induced life history changes, we predict that persistence is promoted by transgenes for oil-modifications (high stearate or high laurate) and, possibly, for insect resistence (Bt). Transgenic tolerance to glufosinate herbicide is predicted to reduce persistence.

Year of Publication2005
Journal citation110 (1), pp. 30-42
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0030-1299.2005.13668.x
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Funder project or code513
Project: 4667

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