Increase in nutrient availability promotes success of invasive plants through increasing growth and decreasing anti-herbivory defenses
Abstract: Invasive plant species often exhibit greater growth and lower anti-herbivory defense than native plant species. However, it remains unclear how nutrient enrichment of invaded habitats may interact with competition from resident native plants to affect growth and defense of invasive plants. In a greenhouse experiment, we grew five congeneric pairs of invasive and native plant species under two levels of nutrient availability (low vs. high) that were fully crossed with simulated herbivory (clipping vs. no-clipping) and competition (alone vs. competition). Invasive plants produced more gibberellic acid, and grew larger than native species. Nutrient enrichment caused a greater increase in total biomass of invasive plants than of native plants, especially in the absence of competition or without simulated herbivory treatment. Nutrient enrichment decreased leaf flavonoid contents of invasive plants under both simulated herbivory conditions, but increased flavonoid of native plants under simulated herbivory condition. Nutrient enrichment only decreased tannins production of invasive species under competition. For native species, it enhanced their tannins production under competition, but decreased the chemicals when growing alone. The results indicate that the higher biomass production and lower flavonoids production in response to nutrient addition may lead to competitive advantage of invasive species than native species.
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Q1. What are the contributions in "Increase in nutrient availability promotes success of invasive plants through increasing growth and decreasing anti-herbivory defenses" ?
For example, Zhang et al. this paper found that high growth and reproductive output with low investments in anti-herbivory defenses may amplify the growth-defense trade-offs of plants.