Plant Ecology

, Volume 207, Issue 2, pp 297–306

Variation for phenotypic plasticity among populations of an invasive exotic grass

Article

Abstract

Phenotypic plasticity is a common feature of plant invaders, but little is known about variation in plasticity among invading populations. Variation in plasticity of ecologically important traits could facilitate the evolution of greater plasticity and invasiveness. We examined plasticity among invasive populations of Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stiltgrass), a widespread and often dominant grass of forests in the eastern U.S. with two separate experiments. First, we exposed seven Microstegium populations to a drought treatment in growth chambers and monitored growth and physiological responses. Then, we established a greenhouse experiment using a subset of the populations; two that exhibited the most divergent responses and one intermediate population. In the greenhouse, we manipulated drought and shade and evaluated biomass production and specific leaf area (SLA). Microstegium exhibited plasticity for biomass production and SLA in the greenhouse experiment, and populations significantly varied in the degree of plasticity under drought and shade treatments. Two populations significantly increased biomass production under favorable conditions, unlike the third population. The most productive populations also responded to shade stress via greater SLA, possibly allowing for greater utilization of available light, while the third population did not. These results show that Microstegium can exhibit plastic responses to environmental conditions. Moreover, variation for plasticity among populations provides the potential for further evolution of plasticity. Future studies should focus on the relative importance of plasticity for the success of Microstegium and other plant invaders and evaluate post-introduction evolution of plasticity.

Keywords

Drought Japanese stiltgrass Microstegium vimineum Shade 

References

  1. Agrawal AA (2001) Ecology—phenotypic plasticity in the interactions and evolution of species. Science 294:321–326CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Baker HG (1965) Characteristics and modes of origin of weeds. In: Baker HG, Stebbins GL (eds) The genetics of colonizing species. Academic Press, New York, p 588Google Scholar
  3. Barden LS (1987) Invasion of Microstegium vimineum (Poaceae), an exotic, annual, shade-tolerant, C-4 grass, into a North Carolina floodplain. Am Midland Nat 118:40–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bossdorf O, Auge H, Lafuma L, Rogers WE, Siemann E, Prati D (2005) Phenotypic and genetic differentiation between native and introduced plant populations. Oecologia 144:1–11CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bossdorf O, Lipowsky A, Prati D (2008) Selection of preadapted populations allowed Senecio inaequidens to invade Central Europe. Divers Distrib 14:676–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burns JH, Winn AA (2006) A comparison of plastic responses to competition by invasive and non-invasive congeners in the Commelinaceae. Biol Invasions 8:797–807CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cheplick GP (2006) A modular approach to biomass allocation in an invasive annual (Microstegium vimineum; Poaceae). Am J Botany 93:539–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Claridge K, Franklin SB (2002) Compensation and plasticity in an invasive plant species. Biol Invasions 4:339–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cole PG, Weltzin JF (2004) Environmental correlates of the distribution and abundance of Microstegium vimineum, in east Tennessee. Southeastern Nat 3:545–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cole PG, Weltzin JF (2005) Light limitation creates patchy distribution of an invasive grass in eastern deciduous forests. Biol Invasions 7:477–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Conner JK (2003) Artificial selection: a powerful tool for ecologists. Ecology 84:1650–1660CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crooks JA (2005) Lag times and exotic species: the ecology and management of biological invasions in slow-motion. Ecoscience 12:316–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ellstrand NC, Schierenbeck KA (2000) Hybridization as a stimulus for the evolution of invasiveness in plants? Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 97:7043–7050CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Fairbrothers DE, Gray JR (1972) Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus (Gramineae) in the United States. J Torrey Bot Soc 99:97–100Google Scholar
  15. Feng YL, Wang JF, Sang WG (2007) Biomass allocation, morphology and photosynthesis of invasive and noninvasive exotic species grown at four irradiance levels. Acta Oecol 31:40–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Flory SL (2009) Management of Microstegium vimineum invasions and recovery of resident plant communities. Restor Ecol (in press)Google Scholar
  17. Flory SL, Clay K (2009) Invasive plant removal method determines native plant community responses. J Appl Ecol 46:434–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Flory SL, Rudgers JA, Clay K (2007) Experimental light treatments affect invasion success and the impact of Microstegium vimineum on the resident community. Nat Areas J 27:124–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gibson DJ, Spyreas G, Benedict J (2002) Life history of Microstegium vimineum (Poaceae), an invasive grass in southern Illinois. J Torrey Bot Soc 129:207–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Grotkopp E, Rejmanek M (2007) High seedling relative growth rate and specific leaf area are traits of invasive species: phylogenetically independent contrasts of woody angiosperms. Am J Bot 94:526–532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hamilton MA, Murray BR, Cadotte MW, Hose GC, Baker AC, Harris CJ, Licari D (2005) Life-history correlates of plant invasiveness at regional and continental scales. Ecol Lett 8:1066–1074CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Higgins SI, Richardson DM, Cowling RM, Trinder-Smith TH (1999) Predicting the landscape-scale distribution of alien plants and their threat to plant diversity. Conserv Biol 13:303–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kolar CS, Lodge DM (2001) Progress in invasion biology: predicting invaders. Trends Ecol Evol 16:199–204CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Lake JC, Leishman MR (2004) Invasion success of exotic in natural ecosystems: the role of disturbance, plant attributes and freedom from herbivores. Biol Conserv 117:215–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lavergne S, Molofsky J (2007) Increased genetic variation and evolutionary potential drive the success of an invasive grass. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:3883–3888CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Leger EA, Rice KJ (2003) Invasive California poppies (Eschscholzia californica Cham.) grow larger than native individuals under reduced competition. Ecol Lett 6:257–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Leishman MR, Haslehurst T, Ares A, Baruch Z (2007) Leaf trait relationships of native and invasive plants: community- and global-scale comparisons. New Phytol 176:635–643CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Mack RN, Simberloff D, Lonsdale WM, Evans H, Clout M, Bazzaz FA (2000) Biotic invasions: causes, epidemiology, global consequences, and control. Ecol Appl 10:689–710CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Maron JL, Vila M, Bommarco R, Elmendorf S, Beardsley P (2004) Rapid evolution of an invasive plant. Ecol Monogr 74:261–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McNulty SG, Aber JD (2001) US national climate change assessment on forest ecosystems: an introduction. Bioscience 51:720–722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Muth NZ, Pigliucci M (2007) Implementation of a novel framework for assessing species plasticity in biological invasions: responses of Centaurea and Crepis to phosphorus and water availability. J Ecol 95:1001–1013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. NOAA and NCDC (2008) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Climate Data Center. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/ncdc.html
  33. Nussey DH, Postma E, Gienapp P, Visser ME (2005) Selection on heritable phenotypic plasticity in a wild bird population. Science 310:304–306CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Oswalt CM, Oswalt SN, Clatterbuck WK (2007) Effects of Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus on native woody species density and diversity in a productive mixed-hardwood forest in Tennessee. For Ecol Manag 242:727–732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pigliucci M (2001) Phenotypic plasticity: beyond nature and nurture. The Johns Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  36. Redman DE (1995) Distribution and habitat types for Nepal Microstegium [(Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) Camus] in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Castenea 60: 270–275Google Scholar
  37. Rejmanek M (2000) Invasive plants: approaches and predictions. Aust Ecol 25:497–506Google Scholar
  38. Richards CL, Bossdorf O, Muth NZ, Gurevitch J, Pigliucci M (2006) Jack of all trades, master of some? On the role of phenotypic plasticity in plant invasions. Ecol Lett 9:981–993CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Roach DA, Wulff RD (1987) Maternal effects in plants. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 18:209–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. SAS Institute Inc (2002) Cary, NC, USAGoogle Scholar
  41. Schlichting CD (1986) The evolution of phenotypic plasticity in plants. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 17:667–693CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. USDA and NRCS (2005) The PLANTS Database. Data compiled from various sources by Mark W. Skinner. Version 3.5. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USAGoogle Scholar
  43. Valladares F, Sanchez-Gomez D, Zavala MA (2006) Quantitative estimation of phenotypic plasticity: bridging the gap between the evolutionary concept and its ecological applications. J Ecol 94:1103–1116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. van Kleunen M, Fischer M (2008) Adaptive rather than non-adaptive evolution of Mimulus guttatus in its invasive range. Basic Appl Ecol 9:213–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Whitcraft CR, Talley DM, Crooks JA, Boland J, Gaskin J (2007) Invasion of tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) in a southern California salt marsh. Biol Invasions 9:875–879CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Winter K, Schmitt MR, Edwards GE (1982) Microstegium vimineum, a shade-adapted C-4 grass. Plant Sci Lett 24:311–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zedler PH, Black C (2004). Exotic plant invasions in an endemic-rich habitat: the spread of an introduced Australian grass, Agrostis avenacea J. F. Gmel., in California vernal pools. Aust Ecol 29:537–546Google Scholar
  48. Zou J, Rogers WE, Siemann E (2007) Differences in morphological and physiological traits between native and invasive populations of Sapium sebiferum. Funct Ecol 21:721–730CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyIndiana UniversityBloomington47405USA

Personalised recommendations