Biological Invasions

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 1143–1155 | Cite as

Impact of Acroptilon repens on co-occurring native plants is greater in the invader’s non-native range

  • Ragan M. Callaway
  • Urs Schaffner
  • Giles C. Thelen
  • Aloviddin Khamraev
  • Tangirbergen Juginisov
  • John L. Maron
Original Paper


Concern over exotic invasions is fueled in part by the observation that some exotic species appear to be more abundant and have stronger impacts on other species in their non-native ranges than in their native ranges. Past studies have addressed biogeographic differences in abundance, productivity, biomass, density and demography between plants in their native and non-native ranges, but despite widespread observations of biogeographic differences in impact these have been virtually untested. In a comparison of three sites in each range, we found that the abundance of Acroptilon repens in North America where it is invasive was almost twice that in Uzbekistan where it is native. However, this difference in abundance translated to far greater differences between regions in the apparent impacts of Acroptilon on native species. The biomass of native species in Acroptilon stands was 25–30 times lower in the non-native range than in the native range. Experimental addition of native species as seeds significantly increased the abundance of natives at one North American site, but the proportion of native biomass even with seed addition remained over an order of magnitude lower than that of native species in Acroptilon stands in Uzbekistan. Experimental disturbance had no long-term effect on Acroptilon abundance or impact in North America, but Acroptilon increased slightly in abundance after disturbance in Uzbekistan. In a long-term experiment in Uzbekistan, suppression of invertebrate herbivores and pathogens did not result in either consistent increases in Acroptilon biomass across years or declines in the biomass of other native species, as one might expect if the low impact of Acroptilon in the native range was due to its strong top–down regulation by natural enemies. Our local scale measurements do not represent all patterns of Acroptilon distribution and abundance that might exist at the scale of landscapes in either range, but they do suggest the possibility of fundamental biogeographic differences in the way a highly successful invader interacts with other species, differences that are not simply related to greater biomass or reduced top–down regulation of the invader in its non-native range.


Biogeography Community ecology Competition Exotic invasion Herbivory Invasion impact Russian knapweed Seeding 



RMC and JLM thank the National Science Foundation (DEB 0614406), the US Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, and the International Program at the University of Montana. US thanks the Swiss National Science Foundation (SCOPES) for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ragan M. Callaway
    • 1
  • Urs Schaffner
    • 2
  • Giles C. Thelen
    • 1
  • Aloviddin Khamraev
    • 3
  • Tangirbergen Juginisov
    • 3
  • John L. Maron
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Biological SciencesThe University of MontanaMissoulaUSA
  2. 2.CABI Europe—SwitzerlandDelémontSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute of ZoologyUzbek Academy of SciencesTashkentUzbekistan

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