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Trade-offs between growth and defence in two phylogenetically close invasive species

Abstract : The success of an invasive plant species could be explained by trade-off between growth and defence. The aim of this paper was to explore the responses of two non-native aquatic macrophytes Elodea canadensis and Elodea nuttallii to herbivores in their introduced range. We assessed the palatability of the two phylogenetically close aquatic plant species in field and their responses to gammarid consumption in spring, summer and autumn in a microcosm experiment. We measured the variation of functional traits for each season. The traits selected were those judged most closely related to the allocation of resources to growth or to resistance against herbivores. We clearly established that the strategies of the two species were different and that their consumption rate differed in summer. In summer, E. canadensis allocated more of its resources to structural defence (leaf toughness). The increase in leaf thickness reduced the palatability of E. canadensis, whereas E. nuttallii stimulated its growth. Moreover, a decrease in dry matter content in E. nuttallii was found during the growing season in field. In autumn, both plant species accumulated nitrogen and phosphorus in their tissues. We also demonstrated that neither species induced efficient chemical defences against the herbivores. The different strategies of these two Elodea species could be explained by their different resident times in the introduced area and by an adaptation of the naturalised E. canadensis to herbivores.
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Submitted on : Monday, October 16, 2017 - 4:54:31 PM
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Gabrielle Thiébaut, Anatole Boiché, Damien Lemoine, Marie-Hélène Barrat-Segretain. Trade-offs between growth and defence in two phylogenetically close invasive species. Aquatic Ecology, Springer Verlag, 2017, 51 (3), pp.405-415. ⟨10.1007/s10452-017-9625-4⟩. ⟨hal-01617557⟩



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