Friday, 14 January 2011

Introduced plant species and rapid evolution

Sometimes I come across interesting reviews by other people on F1000 that are about Biosecurity and Invasive Species.  This month Mark Vellend of the University of British Columbia, Canada has found a very interesting paper on a study of herbarium records collected over the past 100+ years that tells us that environmental adaptation to dry conditions in Australia may take precedence over competitive drivers (such as decreasing vs increasing leaf size) in rapid evolution of introduced plant species in the region. Mark Vellend's full evaluation can be read here:

The summary paragraph of the review:
An ingenious use of herbarium specimens across 23 exotic plant species in Australia has revealed that phenotypic changes following introduction are both very common, and in different directions than predicted by conventional wisdom.
 Details of the paper:
Buswell JM, Moles AT, Hartley S
J Ecol. 2011; 99:214-224

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