, Volume 129, Issue 2, pp 127–132 | Cite as

All stressed out and nowhere to go: does evolvability limit adaptation in invasive species?

An introduction to the symposium at the SSE/ASN/SSB meeting, June 2004
Original Paper


Introduced and invasive species are major threats native species and communities and, quite naturally, most scientists and managers think of them in terms of ecological problems. However, species introductions are also experiments in evolution, both for the alien species and for the community that they colonize. We focus here on the introduced species because these offer opportunities to study the properties that allow a species to succeed in a novel habitat and the constraints that limit range expansion. Moreover, an increasing body of evidence from diverse taxa suggests that the introduced species often undergo rapid and observable evolutionary change in their new habitat. Evolution requires genetic variation, which may be decreased or expanded during an invasion, and an evolutionary mechanism such as genetic drift or natural selection. In this volume, we seek to understand how natural selection produces adaptive evolution during invasions. Key questions include what is the role of biotic and abiotic stress in driving adaptation, and what is the source of genetic variation in introduced populations.


Adaptation Biological invasion Genetic variation Phenotypic plasticity Evolution 



This symposium was funded by the Society for the Study of Evolutionary Biology and presented at the June 2004 SSE/SSB/ASN conference at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO USA. We thank the speakers, Scott Edwards, Ary Hoffmann, Robert G. Latta, Loren Rieseberg, Suzannah Rutherford, and Cynthia Weinig for their thoughtful comments and discussion both during the meeting and in the production of this collection of papers. GWG's participation was supported by NSF.


  1. Baker HG (1965) Characteristics and modes in the origin of weeds. In: Baker HG, Stebbins GL (eds) The genetics of colonizing species. Academic Press, New York, pp 147–168Google Scholar
  2. Baker HG, Stebbins GL (1965) The genetics of colonizing species. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Bradshaw WE, Holzapfel CM (2000) The evolution of genetic architectures and the divergence of natural populations. In: Wolf JB, Brodie ED, III, Wade MJ (eds) Epistasis and the Evolutionary Process. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 245–263Google Scholar
  4. Carroll SP (2006). Brave new world: evolution and quantitative genetics of natives adapting to invaders. Genetica (in press)Google Scholar
  5. Carroll SP, Boyd C (1992) Host race radiation in the soapberry bug: natural history with the history. Evolution 46:1052–1069CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carroll SP, Dingle H, Klassen. SP (1997) Genetic differentiation of fitness-associated traits among rapidly evolving populations of the soapberry bug. Evolution 51:1182–1188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cheverud JM, Routman EJ (1996) Epistasis as a source of increased additive genetic variance at population bottlenecks. Evolution 50:1042–1051CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cooper TF, Rozen DE, Lenski RE (2003) Parallel changes in gene expression after 20,000 generations of evolution in Escherichia coli. PNAS 100:1072–1077PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Darwin CR (1859) On the origin of species, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. J. Murray, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. de Jong G (2005) Evolution of phenotypic plasticity: patterns of plasticity and the emergence of ecotypes. New Phytol 166:101–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dukes JS, Mooney HA (1999) Does global change increase the success of biological invaders?. Trends Ecol Evol 14:135–139PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gilchrist GW, Huey RB, Balanyà J, Pascual M, Serra L (2004) A time series of evolution in action: latitudinal cline in wing size in South American Drosophila subobscura. Evolution 58:768–780PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Goodnight CJ (1995) Epistasis and the increase in additive genetic variance: Implications for phase 1 of Wright’s shifting-balance process. Evolution 49:502–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gould SJ, Eldredge N (1977) Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered. Paleobiology 3:115–151Google Scholar
  15. Grinnell J (1919) The English sparrow has arrived in death valley: an experiment in nature. Am Nat 43:468–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hendry AP, Kinnison MT (1999) Perspective: The pace of modern life: measuring rates of contemporary microevolution. Evolution 53:1637–1653CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hendry AP, Quinn TP, Utter FM (1996) Genetic evidence for the persistence and divergence of native and introduced sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) within Lake Washington, Washington. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 53:823–832CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hess CM, Wang Z, Edwards SV (2006) Evolutionary genetics of house finches, a recently colonized host of a bacterial pathogen. Genetica (in press)Google Scholar
  19. Hoekstra HE, Drumm KE, Nachman MW (2004) Ecological genetics of adaptive color polymorphism in pocket mice: geographic variation in selected and neutral genes. Evolution 58:1329–1341PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Hoffmann AA, Weeks AR (2006) Climatic selection on genes and traits after a 100 year-old invasion: a critical look at the temperate-tropical clines in Drosophila melanogaster from eastern Australia. Genetica (in press)Google Scholar
  21. Huey RB, Hertz PE, Sinervo B (2003) Behavioral drive versus behavioral inertia in evolution: A null model approach. Am Nat 161:357–366PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Johnston RF, Selander RK (1964) House sparrows: rapid evolution of races in North America. Science 144:548–550PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kingsolver JG, Hoekstra HE, Hoekstra JM, Berrigan D, Vignieri SN, Hill CE, Hoang A, Gibert P, Beerli P (2001) The strength of phenotypic selection in natural populations. Am Nat 157:245–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Latta RG, Johansen AD, Gardner KM (2006) Hybridization, recombination, and the genetic basis of fitness variation across environments in Avena barbata. Genetica (in press)Google Scholar
  25. Lee CE (2002) Evolutionary genetics of invasive species. Trends Ecol Evol 17:386–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lee CE, Remfert JL, Chang YM (2006) Response to selection and evolvability of invasive populations. Genetica (in press)Google Scholar
  27. Lee CE, Remfert JL, Gelembiuk GW (2003) Evolution of physiological tolerance and performance during freshwater invasions. Integr Comp Biol 43:439–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lopez-Fanjul C, Fernandez A, Toro MA (2004) Epistasis and the temporal change in the additive variance-covariance matrix induced by drift. Evolution 58:1655–1663PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Losos JB, Jackman TR, Larson A, Queiroz Kd, Rodríguez-Schettino L (1998) Contingency and determinism in replicated adaptive radiations of island lizards. Science 279:2115–2118PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mather K, Jinks JL (1982) Biometrical genetics: the study of continuous variation. Chapman & Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  31. Pimentel D, Lach L, Zuniga R, Morrison D (2000) Environmental and Economic costs of nonindigenous species in the United States. Bioscience 50:53–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rieseberg LH, Kim S-C, Randell RA, Whitney KD, GBL, Lexer C, Clay K (2006) Hybridization and the colonization of novel habitats by annual sunflowers. Genetica (in press)Google Scholar
  33. Simpson GG (1944) Tempo and mode in evolution. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  34. Stearns SC (1983) A natural experiment in life history evolution: Field data on the introduction of mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) to Hawaii. Evolution 37:601–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Stockwell CA, Hendry AP, Kinnison MT (2003) Contemporary evolution meets conservation biology. Trends Ecol Evol 18:94–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Suzuki Y, Nijhout HF (2006) Evolution of a polyphenism by genetic accommodation. Science 311:650–652PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Waddington CH (1953) Genetic assimilation of an acquired character. Evolution 7:118–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Waddington CH (1965) Introduction to the symposium. In: Baker HG, Stebbins GL (eds) The genetics of colonizing species. Academic Press, New York, pp 1–6Google Scholar
  39. Weinig C, Brock MT, Dechaine JA (2006). Genetic mechanisms underlying invasions of heterogeneous environments. Genetica (in press)Google Scholar
  40. West-Eberhard MJ (2003) Developmental plasticity and evolution. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  41. Williamson M, Fitter A (1996) The varying success of invaders. Ecology Washington D C, 77:1661–1666Google Scholar
  42. Wray GA, Hahn MW, Abouheif E, Balhoff JP, Pizer M, Rockman MV, Romano LA (2003) The evolution of transcriptional regulation in eukaryotes. Molecular Biology and Evolution 20:1377–1419PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wright S (1931) Evolution in mendelian populations. Genetics 16:97–159PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyCollege of William & MaryWilliamsburgUSA
  2. 2.Wisconsin Institute of Rapid Evolution, Department of ZoologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations