Phenotypic plasticity rather than locally adapted ecotypes allows the invasive alligator weed to colonize a wide range of habitats

Article


Geng, Yu-Peng, Pan, Xiao-Yun, Xu, Cheng-Yuan, Zhang, Wen-Ju, Li, Bo, Chen, Jia-Kuan, Lu, Bao-Rong and Song, Zhi-Ping. 2007. "Phenotypic plasticity rather than locally adapted ecotypes allows the invasive alligator weed to colonize a wide range of habitats." Biological Invasions. 9 (3), pp. 245-256. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-006-9029-1
Article Title

Phenotypic plasticity rather than locally adapted ecotypes allows the invasive alligator weed to colonize a wide range of habitats

ERA Journal ID3212
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsGeng, Yu-Peng (Author), Pan, Xiao-Yun (Author), Xu, Cheng-Yuan (Author), Zhang, Wen-Ju (Author), Li, Bo (Author), Chen, Jia-Kuan (Author), Lu, Bao-Rong (Author) and Song, Zhi-Ping (Author)
Journal TitleBiological Invasions
Journal Citation9 (3), pp. 245-256
Number of Pages12
Year2007
PublisherSpringer
Place of PublicationNetherlands
ISSN1387-3547
1573-1464
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-006-9029-1
Web Address (URL)http://www.springerlink.com/content/103794/
Abstract

Both phenotypic plasticity and locally adapted ecotypes may contribute to the success of invasive species in a wide range of habitats. Here, we conducted common garden experiments and molecular marker analysis to test the two alternative hypotheses in invasive alligator weed
(Alternanthera philoxeroides), which colonizes both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Ninety individuals from three pairs of aquatic versus terrestrial populations across southern China were analyzed, using inter simple sequence repeat (ISSR) marker, to examine population differentiation
in neutral loci. Two common gardens simulating aquatic and terrestrial habitats were set up to examine population differentiation in quantitative traits. We found no evidence of population differentiation in both neutral loci and quantitative traits. Most individuals shared the same ISSR genotype. Meanwhile, plants from different habitats
showed similar reaction norms across the two common gardens. In particular, plants allocated much more biomass to the belowground roots in the terrestrial environment, where alligator weed may lose part or all of the aboveground shoots because of periodical or accidental disturbances, than those in the aquatic environment. The combined evidence from molecular marker analysis
and common garden experiments support the plasticity hypothesis rather than the ecotype hypothesis in explaining the adaptation of alligator weed in a wide range of habitats.

KeywordsAlternanthera philoxeroides, common garden experiment, ecotype, invasive species, molecular marker, phenotypic plasticity
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020310806. Plant physiology
410202. Biosecurity science and invasive species ecology
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Byline AffiliationsFudan University, China
Columbia University, United States
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