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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Rangeland Resources & Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #338938

Research Project: Improved Management to Balance Production and Conservation in Great Plains Rangelands

Location: Rangeland Resources & Systems Research

Title: Contrasting effects of specialist and generalist herbivores on resistance evolution in invasive plants

Author
item Zhang, Z - Fudan University
item Pan, X - Fudan University
item Blumenthal, Dana
item Van Kleunen, M - University Of Konstanz
item Liu, M - Fudan University
item Li, B - Fudan University

Submitted to: Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/19/2017
Publication Date: 1/20/2018
Citation: Zhang, Z., Pan, X., Blumenthal, D.M., Van Kleunen, M., Liu, M., Li, B. 2018. Contrasting effects of specialist and generalist herbivores on resistance evolution in invasive plants. Ecology. 99(4):866-875. doi:org/10.5061/dryad.hb15m.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.hb15m

Interpretive Summary: Invasive plants can both be released from specialist herbivores and encounter resistance from resident generalist herbivores in their new ranges, which may result in evolution of increased defense against generalist herbivores and decreased defense against specialist herbivores. To test this, we performed a meta-analysis of 59 common garden studies on 31 species. Overall, invasive populations exhibited decreased resistance against specialists, and increased resistance against generalists. Furthermore, for specialist herbivores, invasive plants evolved resistance to those not present in their introduced range, but not those that had also been introduced, such as biological control agents. Our results support the idea that specialist and generalist herbivores play very different roles in the ecology and evolution of invasive plants. Differences in defensive traits among ranges suggest that both enemy release and biotic resistance have selected for altered resistance in invasive plants, but may not have affected the evolution of tolerance.

Technical Abstract: Invasive plants can both be released from specialist herbivores and encounter biotic resistance from resident generalist herbivores in their new ranges, which may result in evolution of increased defense against generalist herbivores and decreased defense against specialist herbivores. To test this in a comprehensive synthesis, we performed a meta-analysis of 59 common garden studies on 31 species that provided data on resistance (both resistance traits and herbivore damage/performance) or tolerance for both native and invasive populations of invasive plants. Overall, invasive populations exhibited decreased resistance against specialists, and increased resistance against generalists, providing broad support for the Evolution of Increased Competitive Ability and Shifting Defense hypotheses. Furthermore, for specialist herbivores, invasive plants evolved resistance to those not present in their introduced range, but not those that had also been introduced, such as biological control agents. Our results support the idea that specialist and generalist herbivores play very different roles in the ecology and evolution of invasive plants. Differences in defensive traits among ranges suggest that both enemy release and biotic resistance have selected for altered resistance in invasive plants, but may not have affected the evolution of tolerance.