Is the increased vigour of invasive weeds explained by a trade-off between growth and herbivore resistance?

Anthony J. Willis, Matthew B. Thomas, John H. Lawton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

97 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Blossey and Notzold (1995) recently hypothesised that the increased vigour of certain invasive plant species has been at the expense of defences against natural enemies. A prediction of their evolution of increased competitive ability (EICA) hypothesis is that invasive genotypes are relatively poorly defended. We tested this prediction with herbivore bioassays and with direct quantification of plant secondary metabolites comparing non-indigenous genotypes of Lythrum salicaria L. (purple loosestrife) with indigenous forms. The herbivore bioassays revealed no significant intra-specific variation in herbivore resistance between indigenous and non-indigenous hosts. The phenolic content of L. salicaria leaves was significantly higher in indigenous genotypes, as predicted by the EICA hypothesis. The average phenolic content of leaves (regardless of their origin) was, however, low, implying that the role of plant phenolics in purple loosestrife anti-herbivore defence is probably limited. It is suggested that the EICA hypothesis, as tested in the current study, does not explain the increased vigour of L. salicaria in non-indigenous habitats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-640
Number of pages9
JournalOecologia
Volume120
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 1999

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Lythrum salicaria
competitive ability
vigor
trade-off
weed
herbivore
genotype
herbivores
weeds
bioassay
antiherbivore defense
secondary metabolite
intraspecific variation
natural enemy
prediction
bioassays
natural enemies
secondary metabolites
habitat
leaves

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

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Is the increased vigour of invasive weeds explained by a trade-off between growth and herbivore resistance? / Willis, Anthony J.; Thomas, Matthew B.; Lawton, John H.

In: Oecologia, Vol. 120, No. 4, 01.09.1999, p. 632-640.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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