Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Higher photosynthesis, nutrient- and energy-use efficiencies contribute to invasiveness of exotic plants in a nutrient poor habitat in northeast China.

Abstract

The roles of photosynthesis-related traits in invasiveness of introduced plant species are still not well elucidated, especially in nutrient-poor habitats. In addition, little effort has been made to determine the physiological causes and consequences of the difference in these traits between invasive and native plants. To address these problems, we compared the differences in 16 leaf functional traits related to light-saturated photosynthetic rate (Pmax) between 22 invasive and native plants in a nutrient-poor habitat in northeast China. The invasive plants had significantly higher Pmax, photosynthetic nitrogen- (PNUE), phosphorus- (PPUE), potassium- (PKUE) and energy-use efficiencies (PEUE) than the co-occurring natives, while leaf nutrient concentrations, construction cost (CC) and specific leaf area were not significantly different between the invasive and native plants. The higher PNUE contributed to higher Pmax for the invasive plants, which in turn contributed to higher PPUE, PKUE and PEUE. CC changed independently with other traits such as Pmax, PNUE, PPUE, PKUE and PEUE, showing two trait dimensions, which may facilitate acclimation to multifarious niche dimensions. Our results indicate that the invasive plants have a superior resource-use strategy, i.e. higher photosynthesis under similar resource investments, contributing to invasion success in the barren habitat.