NCEAS Project 8020

The roles of natural enemies and mutualists in plant invasions

  • Charles E. Mitchell
  • Alison G. Power

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group20th—24th April 2004Participant List  
Working Group13th—17th December 2004Participant List  
Working Group10th—14th May 2005Participant List  
Working Group10th—12th October 2005Participant List  
Working Group10th—13th July 2006Participant List  

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Invasive plant species both threaten native biodiversity and are economically costly (OTA 1993, Williamson 1996, Wilcove et al. 1998, Mack et al. 2000, Pimentel 2002). Recent results (Mitchell and Power 2003) suggest that invasive plants become widespread problems, in part, because they are released from attack by pathogens relative to their native range. However, the roles of herbivores and mutualists in plant invasions remain controversial (Maron and Vila 2001, Keane and Crawley 2002, Agrawal and Kotanen 2003), and the potential for interactive effects of natural enemies and mutualists has been little considered. This working group will examine the joint roles of herbivores, pollinators, mycorrhizal fungi, and pathogens in plant invasions. The first goal of this working group will be to more fully quantify the effects of plant introductions on their associations with these enemies and mutualists. We will achieve this by synthesizing existing data on the geographic occurrence and impact of insect herbivores, mycorrhizal fungi, pollinators, and pathogens. We will then examine to what degree changes in naturalized plants' associations with these other organisms can explain major patterns in biological invasions, particularly variation among naturalized species in their ecological impacts.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Book Chapter Hufbauer, Ruth A.; Torchin, Mark E. 2007. Integrating ecological and evolutionary theory of biological invasions. Biological Invasions: Ecological Studies. Vol: 193. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Pages 79-96.
Journal Article Mitchell, Charles E.; Agrawal, Anurag A.; Bever, James D.; Gilbert, Gregory S.; Hufbauer, Ruth A.; Klironomos, John N.; Maron, John L.; Morris, William F.; Parker, Ingrid M.; Power, Alison G.; Seabloom, Eric; Torchin, Mark E.; Vazquez, Diego P. 2006. Biotic interactions and plant invasions. Ecology Letters. Vol: 9. Pages 726-740.
Journal Article Morris, William F.; Hufbauer, Ruth A.; Agrawal, Anurag A.; Bever, James D.; Borowicz, Victoria A.; Gilbert, Gregory S.; Maron, John L.; Mitchell, Charles E.; Parker, Ingrid M.; Power, Alison G.; Torchin, Mark E.; Vazquez, Diego P. 2007. Direct and interactive effects of enemies and mutualists on plant performance: A meta-analysis. Ecology. Vol: 88(4). Pages 1021-1029.
Journal Article Seabloom, Eric; Williams, John W.; Slayback, Daniel; Stoms, David M.; Viers, Joshua H.; Dobson, Andrew P. 2006. Human impacts, plant invasion, and imperiled, plant species in California. Ecological Applications. Vol: 16(4). Pages 1338-1350.