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Climate change and invasion by intracontinental range-expanding exotic plants: the role of biotic interactions

  • E. Morrien
  • T. Engelkes
  • M. Macel
  • Annelein Meisner
  • W. H. Van der Putten
Publishing year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 843-848
Publication/Series: Annals of Botany
Volume: 105
Issue: 6
Document type: Journal article review
Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract english

In this Botanical Briefing we describe how the interactions between plants and their biotic environment can change during range-expansion within a continent and how this may influence plant invasiveness. We address how mechanisms explaining intercontinental plant invasions by exotics (such as release from enemies) may also apply to climate-warming-induced range-expanding exotics within the same continent. We focus on above-ground and below-ground interactions of plants, enemies and symbionts, on plant defences, and on nutrient cycling. Range-expansion by plants may result in above-ground and below-ground enemy release. This enemy release can be due to the higher dispersal capacity of plants than of natural enemies. Moreover, lower-latitudinal plants can have higher defence levels than plants from temperate regions, making them better defended against herbivory. In a world that contains fewer enemies, exotic plants will experience less selection pressure to maintain high levels of defensive secondary metabolites. Range-expanders potentially affect ecosystem processes, such as nutrient cycling. These features are quite comparable with what is known of intercontinental invasive exotic plants. However, intracontinental range-expanding plants will have ongoing gene-flow between the newly established populations and the populations in the native range. This is a major difference from intercontinental invasive exotic plants, which become more severely disconnected from their source populations.


  • Biological Sciences
  • Climate change
  • range expansion
  • exotic plant
  • plant invasion
  • plant
  • defence
  • trophic interactions
  • enemy release
  • EICA
  • above-ground and
  • below-ground interactions
  • nutrient cycling
  • litter decomposition
  • enemy release hypothesis
  • nonnative plants
  • natural enemies
  • herbivores
  • evolution
  • responses
  • litter
  • decomposition
  • communities
  • mutualisms


  • Microbial Ecology
  • ISSN: 0305-7364
Annelein Meisner
E-mail: annelein [dot] meisner [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Postdoctoral fellow


+46 46 222 37 63