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Are Invaders Moving Targets? The Generality and Persistence of Advantages in Size, Reproduction, and Enemy Release in Invasive Plant Species with Time since Introduction

Christine V. Hawkes
The American Naturalist
Vol. 170, No. 6 (December 2007), pp. 832-843
DOI: 10.1086/522842
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/522842
Page Count: 12
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Are Invaders Moving Targets? The Generality and Persistence of Advantages in Size, Reproduction, and Enemy Release in Invasive Plant Species with Time since Introduction
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Abstract

Abstract: Successful plant invasions are often attributed to increased plant size, reproduction, or release from natural enemies, but the generality and persistence of these patterns remains widely debated. Meta‐analysis was used to quantitatively assess invasive plant performance and release from enemy damage and how these change with residence time and geographic distribution. Invasive plants were compared either in their introduced and home ranges or with native congeners in the introduced range. Invasive plants in the introduced range were generally larger, allocated more to reproduction, and had lower levels of herbivore damage compared with conspecifics in the home range; pathogen attack, however, varied widely. In congener comparisons, invasive and native plants did not differ in size or herbivory, but invaders did allocate less to reproduction and had lower levels of pathogen damage. Time since introduction was a significant nonlinear predictor of enemy release for both herbivores and pathogens, with initial release in recently arrived species and little to no release after 50 to 200 years. Geographic distribution was also a significant nonlinear predictor of enemy release. The observed nonlinear relationships are consistent with dynamic invasions and may define targets for eradication efforts if these patterns hold up for individual species.

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