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    Parallel functional differentiation of an invasive annual plant on two continents

    Broadly distributed species encompass populations spread across habitats that vary in their climatic, edaphic and biotic environmental characteristics. The success of broadly distributed species across a wide range of environmental conditions is, in part, determined by their ability to maintain fitness and positive population growth rates across the range of local environmental conditions encountered by […] More

  • The plants are invading
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    Trait divergence determines the success of a newly invasive plant

    It is often assumed that the ability of plants to acclimatize to the local environment through non-genetic changes in their anatomy and physiology (phenotypic plasticity) is important for the success of invasive species. In this study, Marchini et al. describe a case where traits of an invasive grass, the perennial bunchgrass Brachypodium sylvaticum (Poaceae) associated […] More

  • The global exchange of (A) introduced and (B) invasive bamboos relative to their native range.

    The global distribution of bamboos

    Bamboos are one of the most economically important plant groups globally, but this worldwide trade creates risks of invasions. In a recent review published in AoB PLANTS, Canavan et al. identified 1662 species of bamboo, of which almost a seventh (232) have been introduced outside their native range, with Asiatic and larger species preferred. Only […] More

  • Map showing geographical locations of populations in the invaded range (A) and the native range (B) of Frangula alnus.

    Transatlantic invasion routes and adaptive potential of the invasive Frangula alnus

    Frangula alnus (Alder Buckthorn, also known in North America as Glossy buckthorn) is an ornamental woody species invading North American forests and prairies. De Kort et al. propose that repeated introductions from European source populations into North American parks facilitated the invasion of natural areas through providing stable and genetically diverse park populations. Using annotated […] More

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    Range expansion of invasive shrubs: implication for crown fire risk in forestlands of the southern United States

    Non-native plant invasions and changing management activities have altered the structure and composition of forests. Invasive shrubs and fire suppression have led to increased densification and biomass accumulation in forest ecosystems of the southeastern United States. Notably, the encroachment of non-native privets has altered ecosystem processes and caused changes in community structure. The latter has […] More

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    Do plant traits predict the competitive abilities of closely related species?

    Invasive species are a threat to every ecosystem and thus there is a strong incentive to predict which species will become invasive before they become too widespread and unmanageable. In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS, Schwartz et al. conducted a multi-year, temporally replicated, greenhouse and field experiment based on plant functional traits, quantifying competitive ability and making phylogenetic […] More

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    Using dormant twigs to investigate climate change (Viewpoint)

    Climate change has altered the spring phenology of many temperate plants, with important ecological consequences. However, studies of phenological shifts are generally restricted to field observations or remote-sensing methods. Twig experiments—which involve clipping dormant twigs of trees, shrubs and vines and bringing them into laboratory conditions for phenological observations—offer an underutilized opportunity to disentangle the […] More

  • A view over the fynbos

    Plants and climate change: complexities and surprises (review)

    Camille Parmesan and Mick E. Hanley introduce the special issue with a review of some of the surprises so far with plant responses to anthropogenic climate change. This issue comes from a sponsored symposium session titled Plants and Climate Change: Complexities and Surprises, held during the 99th Ecological Society of America (ESA) meeting in Sacramento, […] More

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    Plant community associations of two invasive thistles

    To combat the growing problems associated with biological invasions, many researchers have focused on identifying which communities are most vulnerable to invasion by exotic species. However, once established, invasive species can significantly change the composition of the communities they invade. The first step to disentangling the direction of causality is to discern whether a relationship […] More

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