Biodiversity Science ›› 2004, Vol. 12 ›› Issue (4): 447-455.doi: 10.17520/biods.2004055

• Editorial • Previous Article     Next Article

Phenotypic plasticity and invasiveness of alien plants

GENG Yu-Peng, ZHANG Wen-Ju, LI Bo, CHEN Jia-Kuan*   

  1. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Eng
  • Received:2003-06-30 Revised:2004-04-25 Online:2004-07-20
  • CHEN Jia-Kuan

How the traits of invasive plants determine their invasiveness is one of the major issues in invasion biology. Invasive plants usually have broad ecological amplitudes, and hence can exploit a great diversity of habitats. Genetic differentiation and phenotypic plasticity are two major strategies that invasive plants can use to invade broad geographical areas and diverse ecosystems. Phenotypic plasticity is a trait that has a certain genetic basis and can evolve independently. Although some of the invasive plants have low genetic variation, they can still invade diverse habitats. Phenotypic plasticity may play a critical role in invasion of these species into new environments. In this review, the concept of phenotypic plasticity and its significance for adaptation were introduced. The relationship between phenotypic plasticity and the invasiveness of alien plants was discussed, supported by theoretical analysis and published experimental evidence.We also suggest some issues that might be addressed in future studies for better understanding of the mechanisms of successful invasion with reference to phenotypic plasticity. Although successful invasion cannot be explained by phenotypic plasticity alone, the positive correlation between invasiveness and phenotypic plasticity seems to be a rule rather than an exception for those invasive species with low genetic diversity but a broad geographic distribution.

CLC Number: 

  • Q948

[1] Baojiang Zheng, Lei Pan. (2012) Species composition of alien invasive plants in Heilongjiang Province . Biodiv Sci, 20(2): 231-234.
[2] Jie Ji, Yanxuan Zhang, Xia Chen, Jianzhen Lin, Li Sun. (2012) The effect of repeated release of the predatory mite Neoseiulus (Amblyseius) cucumeris on arthropod communities in citrus ecosystems . Biodiv Sci, 20(1): 24-31.
[3] WEI Ming-Si, CHEN Zhang-He, REN Hai, ZOU Fa-Sheng, YIN Zuo-Yun, . (2004) Seed dispersal of the pioneer shrub Rhodomyrtus tomentosa by frugivorous birds and ants . Biodiv Sci, 12(5): 494-500.
[4] LEI Bo, BAO WeiKai, JIA Yu, LIU JunHua. (2004) Ground bryophyte composition and synusia structures under young Pinus tabuliformis forests along the upper Minjiang River . Biodiv Sci, 12(4): 410-418.
[5] ZHANG Kai-Mei, SHI Lei, LI Zhen-Yu. (2004) Fern allelopathy and its impact on biodiversity . Biodiv Sci, 12(4): 466-471.
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