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Osunkoya O.O.,Invasive Plant and Animal Science Research Group | Boyne R.,Queensland University of Technology | Boyne R.,Herbarium | Scharaschkin T.,Queensland University of Technology
American Journal of Botany

• Premise of the study: Plant invasiveness can be promoted by higher values of adaptive traits (e.g., photosynthetic capacity, biomass accumulation), greater plasticity and coordination of these traits, and by higher and positive relative influence of these functionalities on fitness, such as increasing reproductive output. However, the data set for this premise rarely includes linkages between epidermal–stomatal traits, leaf internal anatomy, and physiological performance.• Methods: Three ecological pairs of invasive vs. noninvasive (native) woody vine species of South-East Queensland, Australia were investigated for trait differences in leaf morphology and anatomy under varying light intensity. The linkages of these traits with physiological performance (e.g., water-use efficiency, photosynthesis, and leaf construction cost) and plant adaptive traits of specificleaf area, biomass, and relative growth rates were also explored.• Key results: Except for stomatal size, mean leaf anatomical traits differed significantly between the two groups. Plasticity of traits and, to a very limited extent, their phenotypic integration were higher in the invasive relative to the native species. ANOVA, ordination, and analysis of similarity suggest that for leaf morphology and anatomy, the three functional strategies contribute to the differences between the two groups in the order phenotypic plasticity > trait means > phenotypic integration.• Conclusions: The linkages demonstrated in the study between stomatal complex/gross anatomy and physiology are scarce in the ecological literature of plant invasiveness, but the findings suggest that leaf anatomical traits need to be considered routinely as part of weed species assessment and in the worldwide leaf economic spectrum. © 2014 Botanical Society of America. Source

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