A meta-analysis of the evolution of increased competitive ability hypothesis: genetic-based trait variation and herbivory resistance trade-offs

Michael C. Rotter, Liza M. Holeski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Non-native organisms are an abundant component of almost all global ecosystems. A prominent framework to explain the success of non-native plants is the evolution of increased competitive ability (EICA) hypothesis. EICA predicts that plants escape from co-evolved herbivores after introduction into a non-native habitat. Assuming limited resources, a relaxation in selection pressures for resistance traits against the co-evolved specialist herbivores allows plants to allocate increased resources to traits related to fitness and/or competitive ability. Despite the prominence of the EICA hypothesis in the literature, empirical evidence has been mixed. We conducted a meta-analysis on 30 studies that focused on genetic-based trait variation and the trade-off between resistance traits and fitness to assess support for the EICA hypothesis. We found general support for EICA across studies. Performance of herbivores was higher on non-native plant populations than on native populations of the same species. Fitness trait values were higher in non-native populations, relative to native, and we found evidence for trade-offs between herbivore performance and plant fitness traits. Support for EICA was strongest when we focused on direct measurements of herbivore performance, and weakest when we assessed resistance traits, highlighting the complex and often unknown relationship between resistance traits and particular herbivores in many plant–herbivore systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2647-2660
Number of pages14
JournalBiological Invasions
Volume20
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

Keywords

  • EICA
  • Evolution of increased competitive ability
  • Herbivory
  • Meta-analysis
  • Non-native plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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