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Little evidence for release from herbivores as a driver of plant invasiveness from a multi-species herbivore-removal experiment.

Dawson, W. and Bottini, A. and Fischer, M. and van Kleunen, M. and Knop, E. (2014) 'Little evidence for release from herbivores as a driver of plant invasiveness from a multi-species herbivore-removal experiment.', Oikos., 123 (12). pp. 1509-1518.

Abstract

Enemy release is frequently posed as a main driver of invasiveness of alien species. However, an experimental multi-species test examining performance and herbivory of invasive alien, non-invasive alien and native plant species in the presence and absence of natural enemies is lacking. In a common garden experiment in Switzerland, we manipulated exposure of seven alien invasive, eight alien non-invasive and fourteen native species from six taxonomic groups to natural enemies (invertebrate herbivores), by applying a pesticide treatment under two different nutrient levels. We assessed biomass production, herbivore damage and the major herbivore taxa on plants. Across all species, plants gained significantly greater biomass under pesticide treatment. However, invasive, non-invasive and native species did not differ in their biomass response to pesticide treatment at either nutrient level. The proportion of leaves damaged on invasive species was significantly lower compared to native species, but not when compared to non-invasive species. However, the difference was lost when plant size was accounted for. There were no differences between invasive, non-invasive and native species in herbivore abundance. Our study offers little support for invertebrate herbivore release as a driver of plant invasiveness, but suggests that future enemy release studies should account for differences in plant size among species.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/oik.01485
Publisher statement:This is the accepted version of the following article: Dawson, W., Bottini, A., Fischer, M., van Kleunen, M. and Knop, E. (2014), Little evidence for release from herbivores as a driver of plant invasiveness from a multi-species herbivore-removal experiment. Oikos, 123(12): 1509-1518, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/oik.01485. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Record Created:26 Feb 2016 15:35
Last Modified:29 Feb 2016 09:45

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