An experimental test of the EICA Hypothesis in multiple ranges: invasive populations outperform those from the native range independent of insect herbivore suppression.
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The success of invasive plants may reflect environmental differences in their native and introduced ranges including both abiotic and biotic conditions, such as release from aboveground herbivory. However, in response to these novel conditions, plants from invasive populations may have higher growth rates and lower defense levels compared to those in the native range. This may contribute to their success in the introduced range but perhaps not in the native range. Here, we grew 1000 Triadica sebifera plants from 14 native and introduced populations in seven common gardens with unmanaged background vegetation for three growing seasons in three geographic venues that varied in T. sebifera status and insect herbivore communities: Texas -T. sebifera is invasive, low levels of generalist herbivory; Hawaii - T. sebifera introduced but not invasive, high levels of generalist herbivory from exotic herbivores; China - native range, both generalist and specialist herbivores. We suppressed aboveground insects with insecticide on half the plants. Aboveground damage in the first growing season was lowest in Texas and insecticide sprays reduced damage in China. At the end of the first growing season, plants were tallest on average in China and shortest in Hawaii. However, height in later years and mass were highest on average in Texas and lowest in Hawaii. However, there was large variation in damage and plant performance among gardens within venues. Our results suggest that more rapid aboveground growth rates contribute to T. sebifera's success in both the invasive and native ranges independent of aboveground herbivory. However, strong variation among sites indicates that T. sebifera plants from invasive populations only have a strong advantage in a subset of sites in Texas.
author list (cited authors)
Siemann, E., DeWalt, S. J., Zou, J., & Rogers, W. E.
complete list of authors
Siemann, Evan||DeWalt, Saara J||Zou, Jianwen||Rogers, William E