Evolutionary Applications (2014) 7, 413-420

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Madalin Parepa, Markus Fischer, Christine Krebs and Oliver Bossdorf (2014)
Hybridization increases invasive knotweed success
Evolutionary Applications 7 (3), 413-420
Abstract: Hybridization is one of the fundamental mechanisms by which rapid evolution can occur in exotic species. If hybrids show increased vigour, this could significantly contribute to invasion success. Here, we compared the success of the two invasive knotweeds, Fallopia japonica and F. sachalinensis, and their hybrid, F. × bohemica, in competing against experimental communities of native plants. Using plant material from multiple clones of each taxon collected across a latitudinal gradient in Central Europe, we found that knotweed hybrids performed significantly better in competition with a native community and that they more strongly reduced the growth of the native plants. One of the parental species, F. sachalinensis, regenerated significantly less well from rhizomes, and this difference disappeared if activated carbon was added to the substrate, which suggests allelopathic inhibition of F. sachalinensis regeneration by native plants. We found substantial within-taxon variation in competitive success in all knotweed taxa, but variation was generally greatest in the hybrid. Interestingly, there was also significant variation within the genetically uniform F. japonica, possibly reflecting epigenetic differences. Our study shows that invasive knotweed hybrids are indeed more competitive than their parents and that hybridization increased the invasiveness of the exotic knotweed complex.
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Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Reynoutria japonica (weed) Germany
Reynoutria japonica (weed) Switzerland
Reynoutria sachalinensis (weed) Germany
Reynoutria sachalinensis (weed) Switzerland