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Ecol Evol. 2014 Dec;4(24):4567-77. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1286. Epub 2014 Nov 25.

Preadaptation and post-introduction evolution facilitate the invasion of Phragmites australis in North America.

Author information

1
Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University Ole Worms Allé 1, 8000, Aarhus C, Denmark ; State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University Shanghai, 200062, China.
2
Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University Ole Worms Allé 1, 8000, Aarhus C, Denmark.
3
Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University Ole Worms Allé 1, 8000, Aarhus C, Denmark ; College of Environment and Natural Resources, Campus II, Can Tho University 3/2 Street, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City, Vietnam.
4
State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University Shanghai, 200062, China.

Abstract

Compared with non-invasive species, invasive plant species may benefit from certain advantageous traits, for example, higher photosynthesis capacity and resource/energy-use efficiency. These traits can be preadapted prior to introduction, but can also be acquired through evolution following introduction to the new range. Disentangling the origins of these advantageous traits is a fundamental and emerging question in invasion ecology. We conducted a multiple comparative experiment under identical environmental condition with the invasive haplotype M lineage of the wetland grass Phragmites australis and compared the ecophysiological traits of this invasive haplotype M in North America with those of the European ancestor and the conspecific North American native haplotype E lineage, P. australis ssp. americanus. The invasive haplotype M differed significantly from the native North American conspecific haplotype E in several ecophysiological and morphological traits, and the European haplotype M had a more efficient photosynthetic apparatus than the native North American P. australis ssp. americanus. Within the haplotype M lineage, the introduced North American P. australis exhibited different biomass allocation patterns and resource/energy-use strategies compared to its European ancestor group. A discriminant analysis of principal components separated the haplotype M and the haplotype E lineages completely along the first canonical axis, highly related to photosynthetic gas-exchange parameters, photosynthetic energy-use efficiency and payback time. The second canonical axis, highly related to photosynthetic nitrogen use efficiency and construction costs, significantly separated the introduced P. australis in North America from its European ancestor. Synthesis. We conclude that the European P. australis lineage was preadapted to be invasive prior to its introduction, and that the invasion in North America is further stimulated by rapid post-introduction evolution in several advantageous traits. The multicomparison approach used in this study could be an effective approach for distinguishing preadaptation and post-introduction evolution of invasive species. Further research is needed to link the observed changes in invasive traits to the genetic variation and the interaction with the environment.

KEYWORDS:

Biomass allocation; common reed; common-environment experiment; discriminant analysis; ecophysiological trade-off; functional traits; invasion ecology; leaf construction cost; photosynthesis; standardized major axis (SMA)

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