Comparison of ecophysiological and leaf anatomical traits of native and invasive plant species.
Background: To address the lack of evidence supporting invasion by three invasive plant species (Imperata cylindrica, Lantana camara, and Chromolaena odorata) in tropical ecosystems, we compared the ecophysiological and leaf anatomical traits of these three invasive alien species with those of species native to Sempu Island, Indonesia. Data on four plant traits were obtained from the TRY Plant Trait Database, and leaf anatomical traits were measured using transverse leaf sections. Results: Two ecophysiological traits including specific leaf area (SLA) and seed dry weight showed significant association with plant invasion in the Sempu Island Nature Reserve. Invasive species showed higher SLA and lower seed dry weight than non-invasive species. Moreover, invasive species showed superior leaf anatomical traits including sclerenchymatous tissue thickness, vascular bundle area, chlorophyll content, and bundle sheath area. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that leaf anatomical traits strongly influenced with cumulative variances (100% in grass and 88.92% in shrubs), where I. cylindrica and C. odorata outperformed non-invasive species in these traits. Conclusions: These data suggest that the traits studied are important for plant invasiveness since ecophysiological traits influence of light capture, plant growth, and reproduction while leaf anatomical traits affect herbivory, photosynthetic assimilate transport, and photosynthetic activity.