Chapter

Exotic Plants and Enemy Resistance

John L. Maron and Montserrat Vilà

in Specialization, Speciation, and Radiation

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780520251328
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933828 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520251328.003.0020
Exotic Plants and Enemy Resistance

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The increasing movement of organisms to new regions by humans is enabling species to breach natural dispersal barriers that normally constrain their geographic distribution. Despite being introduced to areas that may be very different from their home region, some exotics become spectacularly more successful in evolutionarily novel environments than in areas in which they evolved. How some exotics come to dominate these new habitats, despite being often inconspicuous members of their native community, is one of ecology's central mysteries. Unraveling this mystery involves understanding how introduced organisms faced with novel abiotic or biotic conditions make accommodations to their new environments. This chapter examines how exotic plants respond to the altered assemblage of natural enemies they face within their introduced ranges. It discusses the rapid evolution of exotics in response to enemy pressure, exotics as substrates for studying the evolutionary response of plants to natural enemies, hypotheses and evidence for plant defenses, evolution in exotics in response to biocontrol, experimental evidence for evolution of exotic plant defense, and the response of St. John's wort to an altered enemy landscape.

Keywords: evolution; exotic plants; natural enemies; plant defense; St. John's wort; biocontrol

Chapter.  13010 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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