Species composition, functional and phylogenetic distances correlate with success of invasive Chromolaena odorata in an experimental test.
Biotic resistance may influence invasion success; however, the relative roles of species richness, functional or phylogenetic distance in predicting invasion success are not fully understood. We used biomass fraction of Chromolaena odorata, an invasive species in tropical and subtropical areas, as a measure of 'invasion success' in a series of artificial communities varying in species richness. Communities were constructed using species from Mexico (native range) or China (non-native range). We found strong evidence of biotic resistance: species richness and community biomass were negatively related with invasion success; invader biomass was greater in plant communities from China than from Mexico. Harvesting time had a greater effect on invasion success in plant communities from China than on those from Mexico. Functional and phylogenetic distances both correlated with invasion success and more functionally distant communities were more easily invaded. The effects of plant-soil fungi and plant allelochemical interactions on invasion success were species-specific.