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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Lauderdale, Florida » Invasive Plant Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #161428


item Franks, Steven
item Pratt, Paul
item Dray, F Allen

Submitted to: Weed Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/20/2004
Publication Date: 12/29/2004
Citation: Franks, S.J., Pratt, P.D., Dray Jr, F.A., Simms, E.L. 2004. Selection for resistance in invasive plants. Weed Technology.

Interpretive Summary: It is important to understand evolutionary changes in populations over time in order to effectively manage invasive exotic and other species of concern. A major problem in invasive species management is the possibility that plants will develop resistance to herbicides, herbivory by insects used as biological control agents, and other treatments. We show how the evolution of resistance can be investigated. We illustrate how research on the development of resistance can be conducted using our work on the invasive exotic plant Melaleuca quinquenervia. This work also tests the theory that invasive plants have lost resistance to insects in their new range because these resistance traits are not needed where their natural enemies are absent. We recommend that managers consider evolutionary issues and the development of resistance when dealing with invasive species.

Technical Abstract: Although evolution is often neglected in invasive species work, evolutionary theory can be used to guide invasive species management, and research on exotic species can be used to test evolutionary theory. One substantial challenge in invasive plant management is the evolution of resistance to herbicides, biological control and other treatments. We illustrate how the evolution of resistance can be investigated using our research on biological control of the invasive plant Melaleuca quinquenervia. This research also tests one of the theories of invasive plant evolution, the evolution of increased competitive ability (EICA) hypothesis. We outline the methods used to investigate this theory and recommend including evolutionary considerations in invasive species management programs.