, Volume 166, Issue 3, pp 843-851
Date: 12 Feb 2011

Phylogenetic structure predicts capitular damage to Asteraceae better than origin or phylogenetic distance to natives

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Exotic species more closely related to native species may be more susceptible to attack by native natural enemies, if host use is phylogenetically conserved. Where this is the case, the use of phylogenies that include co-occurring native and exotic species may help to explain interspecific variation in damage. In this study, we measured damage caused by pre-dispersal seed predators to common native and exotic plants in the family Asteraceae. Damage was then mapped onto a community phylogeny of this family. We tested the predictions that damage is phylogenetically structured, that exotic plants experience lower damage than native species after controlling for this structure, and that phylogenetically novel exotic species would experience lower damage. Consistent with our first prediction, 63% of the variability in damage was phylogenetically structured. When this structure was accounted for, exotic plants experienced significantly lower damage than native plants, but species origin only accounted for 3% of the variability of capitular damage. Finally, there was no support for the phylogenetic novelty prediction. These results suggest that interactions between exotic plants and their seed predators may be strongly influenced by their phylogenetic position, but not by their relationship to locally co-occurring native species. In addition, the influence of a species’ origin on the damage it experiences often may be small relative to phylogenetically conserved traits.

Communicated by Melinda Smith.