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The ecology and evolution of alien plants

van Kleunen, M.; Bossdorf, O.; Dawson, W.

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M. van Kleunen

O. Bossdorf


We review the state of the art of alien plant research with emphasis on conceptual advances and knowledge gains on general patterns and drivers, biotic interactions, and evolution. Major advances include the identification of different invasion stages and invasiveness dimensions (geographic range, habitat specificity, local abundance) and the identification of appropriate comparators while accounting for propagule pressure and year of introduction. Developments in phylogenetic and functional trait research bear great promise for better understanding of the underlying mechanisms. Global patterns are emerging with propagule pressure, disturbance, increased resource availability, and climate matching as major invasion drivers, but species characteristics also play a role. Biotic interactions with resident communities shape invasion outcomes, with major roles for species diversity, enemies, novel weapons, and mutualists. Mounting evidence has been found for rapid evolution of invasive aliens and evolutionary responses of natives, but a mechanistic understanding requires tighter integration of molecular and phenotypic approaches. We hope the open questions identified in this review will stimulate further research on the ecology and evolution of alien plants.


van Kleunen, M., Bossdorf, O., & Dawson, W. (2018). The ecology and evolution of alien plants. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 49(1), 25-47.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 30, 2018
Online Publication Date Jun 6, 2018
Publication Date Jun 6, 2018
Deposit Date Apr 3, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jun 17, 2019
Journal Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
Print ISSN 1543-592X
Electronic ISSN 1545-2069
Publisher Annual Reviews
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 1
Pages 25-47


Accepted Journal Article (314 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Posted with permission from the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, Volume 49 © 2018 by Annual Reviews,

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