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Annu Rev Entomol. 2010;55:439-59. doi: 10.1146/annurev-ento-112408-085333.

Evolution of plant defenses in nonindigenous environments.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts 02155, USA.


Exotic plants provide a unique opportunity to explore the evolution of defense allocation in plants. Many studies have focused on whether enemy release leads to a change in defense allocation. Little research has focused on induced defenses and on how resource availability in the nonindigenous range might cause evolutionary shifts in defense trait allocation. We examine (a) the major evolutionary hypotheses predicting defense expression in plants, (b) the hypotheses explaining defense evolution of exotic species, and (c) the importance of geographic variation in ecological interactions to defense evolution (geographic mosaics). In addition, we review the strengths and weaknesses of experimental approaches, present case studies, and suggest areas that deserve further attention.

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