Biodiversity Science ›› 2010, Vol. 18 ›› Issue (6): 622-630.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.2010.622

Special Issue: Biological Invasions: Mechanisms Impacts and Management;

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Impacts of alien plant invasions on biodiversity and evolutionary responses of native species

Yanbao Lei; Haifeng Xiao; Yulong Feng*   

  1. Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223
  • Received:2010-06-19 Online:2011-01-31
  • Yulong Feng

The impacts of invasive alien species on the genetic diversity and evolutionary responses of native species are poorly understood. Accumulating evidence shows that invasive plant species can lead to genetic erosion of natives directly through hybridization and gene infiltration, or even affect genetic diversity of natives through creation of new “genotypes”. Exotic species can also alter genetic diversity of natives indirectly through habitat fragmentation and modification, processes which influence gene flow within and among populations and result in inbreeding and genetic drift. On the other hand, some studies show that native species can respond evolutionarily to invasive plants, thereby reducing or eliminating invasive impacts. While interacting with invasive species, native species in both above- and below-ground ecosystems exhibit a series of evolutionary events such as adaptation, speciation or extinction. To more comprehensively evaluate the ecological impacts of biological invasions and the adaptive potential of natives, here we review the impacts of invasive plants on biological (genetic) diversity of native species, and the evolutionary responses of natives. We also discuss relationships between the genetic and evolutionary responses of natives and the success of invasive plants, and propose topics for further research.

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