Comparing naturalized alien plants and recipient habitats across an east-west gradient in the Mediterranean Basin

Margarita Arianoutsou, Pinelopi Delipetrou, Laura Celesti-Grapow, Corina Basnou, Ioannis Bazos, Yannis Kokkoris, Carlo Blasi, Montserrat Vilà

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To investigate alien plant species invasion levels in different habitats and alien species traits by comparing the naturalized flora in different areas of the same biogeographical region. Location: Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus. Methods: Comparison of floristic composition, species traits and recipient habitats of naturalized alien neophytes across an east-west gradient comprising four countries in the European Mediterranean basin. Results: A total of 782 naturalized neophytes were recorded; only 30 species were present in all four countries. Although floristic similarity is low, the four alien floras share the same patterns of growth form (mostly herbs), life cycle (mostly perennials) and life form (mostly therophytes, hemicryptophytes and phanerophytes). The majority of the recipient habitats were artificial. Wetlands were the natural habitats, with the highest numbers of naturalized species. Floristic similarity analyses revealed: (1) the highest floristic similarity between Italy and Spain, both of which were more similar to Greece than to Cyprus; (2) two groups of floristic similarity between habitat categories in each country (Greece-Cyprus and Italy-Spain); (3) a higher degree of homogenization in the plant assemblages in different habitats in Greece and Cyprus and a lower degree of homogenization in those in Italy and Spain; and (4) a higher degree of homogenization in artificial and natural fresh-water habitats than in the other natural habitats. Main conclusions: The floristic similarity of naturalized neophytes between the four countries is low, although the overall analysis indicates that the western group (Italy-Spain) is separated from the eastern group (Greece-Cyprus). Similar patterns emerged regarding the life-history traits and recipient habitats. The artificial habitats and the natural wet habitats are those that are invaded most and display the greatest homogenization in all four countries. Coastal habitats display a lower degree of homogenization but a high frequency of aliens. Dry shrubs and rocky habitats display a lower degree of homogenization and a low frequency of aliens. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1811-1823
JournalJournal of Biogeography
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2010


  • Biological invasions
  • Biotic homogenization
  • European Mediterranean countries
  • Floristic similarity
  • Invasibility
  • Level of invasion
  • Naturalized plants
  • Plant traits


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparing naturalized alien plants and recipient habitats across an east-west gradient in the Mediterranean Basin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this