Leaf trait co- ordination in relation to construction cost carbon gain and resource-use efficiency in exotic invasive and native woody vine species
Osunkoya OO; Bayliss D; Panetta FD; Vivian-Smith G
Annals of Botany
Background and Aims Success of invasive plant species is thought to be linked with their higher leaf carbon fixation strategy enabling them to capture and utilize resources better than native species and thus pre-empt and maintain space. However these traits are not well-defined for invasive woody vines.\n\nMethods In a glass house setting experiments were conducted to examine how leaf carbon gain strategies differ between non-indigenous invasive and native woody vines of south-eastern Australia by investigating their biomass gain leaf structural nutrient and physiological traits under changing light and moisture regimes.\n\nKey Results Leaf construction cost (CC) calorific value and carbon : nitrogen (C : N) ratio were lower in the invasive group while ash content N maximum photosynthesis light-use efficiency photosynthetic energy-use efficiency (PEUE) and specific leaf area (SLA) were higher in this group relative to the native group. Trait plasticity relative growth rate (RGR) photosynthetic nitrogen-use efficiency and water-use efficiency did not differ significantly between the groups. However across light resource regression analyses indicated that at a common (same) leaf CC and PEUE a higher biomass RGR resulted for the invasive group; also at a common SLA a lower CC but higher N resulted for the invasive group. Overall trait co-ordination (using pair-wise correlation analyses) was better in the invasive group. Ordination using 16 leaf traits indicated that the major axis of invasive-native dichotomy is primarily driven by SLA and CC (including its components and/or derivative of PEUE) and was significantly linked with RGR.\n\nConclusions These results demonstrated that while not all measures of leaf resource traits may differ between the two groups the higher level of trait correlation and higher revenue returned (RGR) per unit of major resource need (CC) and use (PEUE) in the invasive group is in line with their rapid spread where introduced.