Biological Invasions

, 11:625

Evidence for a shift in life-history strategy during the secondary phase of a plant invasion

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10530-008-9277-3

Cite this article as:
Moloney, K.A., Knaus, F. & Dietz, H. Biol Invasions (2009) 11: 625. doi:10.1007/s10530-008-9277-3


We investigated the correlated response of several key traits of Lythrum salicaria L. to water availability gradients in introduced (Iowa, USA) and native (Switzerland, Europe) populations. This was done to investigate whether plants exhibit a shift in life-history strategy during expansion into more stressful habitats during the secondary phase of invasion, as has recently been hypothesized by Dietz and Edwards (Ecology 87(6):1359, 2006). Plants in invaded habitats exhibited a correlated increase in longevity and decrease in overall size in the transition into more stressful mesic habitats. In contrast, plants in the native range only exhibited a decrease in height. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that secondary invasion is taking place in L. salicaria, allowing it to be more successful under the more stressful mesic conditions in the invaded range. If this trend continues, L. salicaria may become a more problematic species in the future.


Secondary invasionLythrum salicariaInvasive speciesHerb-chronologyLife-history evolutionPurple loosestrifeMoisture gradient

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kirk A. Moloney
    • 1
  • Florian Knaus
    • 2
  • Hansjörg Dietz
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal BiologyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)ZurichSwitzerland