[en] Dispersion capacity of alien invasive plants is a key feature for understanding invasion processes and risks. Here, we present an experimental study focussing on the seed rain pattern of Senecio inaequidens, an African plant widespread throughout Europe, under common favourable dispersal conditions. One hundred achenes from two Belgian populations underwent a drop time in still air experiment in order to assess linear correlation between several morphological traits and terminal velocity. Variation in morphological traits was measured for 250 additional achenes per population. The trait best correlated to terminal velocity was the square root of the plume loading. We then used this trait to model terminal velocity using a linear regression (r(2) of 79.7%). With this regression and imposing ecological parameters such as wind speed, turbulences and height of release to be representative of favourable dispersal conditions, we established a Gaussian tilted plume model to predict the seed rain pattern of the species. A wind tunnel experiment consequently permitted to validate the model. Under a wind speed of 5 m s(-1) with 2% turbulences along the vertical axis, and height of release of 0.40 m, 99.8% of achenes were dispersed within 100 meters, with a maximum deposition rate at 5.2 m from the parent plant. Uplifted achenes, not forecasted by the model, represent 6.25% of all achenes.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS