Journal Article

Climate change and invasion by intracontinental range-expanding exotic plants: the role of biotic interactions

Elly Morriën, Tim Engelkes, Mirka Macel, Annelein Meisner and Wim H. Van der Putten

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 105, issue 6, pages 843-848
Published in print June 2010 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online March 2010 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcq064
Climate change and invasion by intracontinental range-expanding exotic plants: the role of biotic interactions

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

In this Botanical Briefing we describe how the interactions between plants and their biotic environment can change during range-expansion within a continent and how this may influence plant invasiveness.

Scope

We address how mechanisms explaining intercontinental plant invasions by exotics (such as release from enemies) may also apply to climate-warming-induced range-expanding exotics within the same continent. We focus on above-ground and below-ground interactions of plants, enemies and symbionts, on plant defences, and on nutrient cycling.

Conclusions

Range-expansion by plants may result in above-ground and below-ground enemy release. This enemy release can be due to the higher dispersal capacity of plants than of natural enemies. Moreover, lower-latitudinal plants can have higher defence levels than plants from temperate regions, making them better defended against herbivory. In a world that contains fewer enemies, exotic plants will experience less selection pressure to maintain high levels of defensive secondary metabolites. Range-expanders potentially affect ecosystem processes, such as nutrient cycling. These features are quite comparable with what is known of intercontinental invasive exotic plants. However, intracontinental range-expanding plants will have ongoing gene-flow between the newly established populations and the populations in the native range. This is a major difference from intercontinental invasive exotic plants, which become more severely disconnected from their source populations.

Keywords: Climate change; range expansion; exotic plant; plant invasion; plant defence; trophic interactions; enemy release; EICA; above-ground and below-ground interactions; nutrient cycling; litter decomposition

Journal Article.  4600 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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