, Volume 148, Issue 3, pp 384–395 | Cite as

Geographic patterns of herbivory and resource allocation to defense, growth, and reproduction in an invasive biennial, Alliaria petiolata

  • Kristin C. Lewis
  • F.A. Bazzaz
  • Qing Liao
  • Colin M. Orians


We investigated geographic patterns of herbivory and resource allocation to defense, growth, and reproduction in an invasive biennial, Alliaria petiolata, to test the hypothesis that escape from herbivory in invasive species permits enhanced growth and lower production of defensive chemicals. We quantified herbivore damage, concentrations of sinigrin, and growth and reproduction inside and outside herbivore exclusion treatments, in field populations in the native and invasive ranges. As predicted, unmanipulated plants in the native range (Hungary, Europe) experienced greater herbivore damage than plants in the introduced range (Massachusetts and Connecticut, USA), providing evidence for enemy release, particularly in the first year of growth. Nevertheless, European populations had consistently larger individuals than US populations (rosettes were, for example, eightfold larger) and also had greater reproductive output, but US plants produced larger seeds at a given plant height. Moreover, flowering plants showed significant differences in concentrations of sinigrin in the invasive versus native range, although the direction of the difference was variable, suggesting the influence of environmental effects. Overall, we observed less herbivory, but not increased growth or decreased defense in the invasive range. Geographical differences in performance and leaf chemistry appear to be due to variation in the environment, which could have masked evolved differences in allocation.


Alliaria petiolata EICA Herbivory Invasive species Sinigrin 



This work was funded by a NSF Graduate Student Fellowship and an EPA STAR Fellowship to KCL, as well as a Harvard OEB Student Dissertation Grant and the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. Peter Ashton, Missy Holbrook, Brooke Parry-Hecht, Naomi Pierce, Bernhard Schmid, Amity Wilczek and Kelly Wolfe-Bellin and four anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments on previous versions of this manuscript. We thank the Duna-Ipoly and Bükk National Park directorates, Trustees of Reservations, and National Audubon, and Harvard Forest for use of research sites. Francie Chew provided assistance with the HPLC-MS column and chemical extraction protocol. We thank Sylvan Kaufman, János Nagy, András Schmotzer, Kristina Stinson, Rich Stomberg, and Zoltán Tuba for assistance with the field studies. Aaron Ellison provided feedback on statistical analyses, but any errors are the authors’ own. Special thanks to our research assistants: Dan Flynn, Daria Hinz, Julia Mansfield, and Luke McKneally. Samples were transported under USDA Permit # 37–83868.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristin C. Lewis
    • 1
    • 4
  • F.A. Bazzaz
    • 1
  • Qing Liao
    • 2
  • Colin M. Orians
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyBiological LaboratoriesCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Mass Spectrometry Facility, Chemistry and Chemical BiologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyTufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  4. 4.Rowland Institute at HarvardCambridgeUSA

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