Journal article

Plant functional traits reflect different dimensions of species invasiveness

Estibaliz Palma, Peter A Vesk, Matt White, John B Baumgartner, Jane A Catford

ECOLOGY | WILEY | Published : 2021


Trait-based invasiveness studies typically categorize exotic species as invasive or noninvasive, implicitly assuming species form two homogenous groups. However, species can become invasive in different ways (e.g., high abundance, fast spread), likely relying on different functional traits to do so. As such, binary classification may obscure traits associated with invasiveness. We tested whether (1) the way in which invasiveness is quantified influences its correlation with functional traits and (2) different demography-based metrics are related to different sets of traits. Using a case study of 251 herbs exotic to Victoria, Australia, we quantified species' invasiveness using 10 metrics: fo..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

Thanks to Mick McCarthy, Geoff Carr, Aaron Dodd, Alejandra Moran-Ordonez, Cindy Hauser, Abigail Mabey, Luis Mata, Joslin Moore, Danny White, Casey Visintin, Kate Giljohann, Enrique Garcia de la Riva, Jian Yen, James Camac, Kate Senior, and Freya Thomas. The study has been supported by the TRY initiative on plant traits (, the Australian Research Council (Grant DE120102221) to J. Catford, the Australian Wildlife Society University Research Grant and The Albert Shimmins Fund as a Faculty of Science Postgraduate Writing-Up Award (University of Melbourne) to E. Palma, and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Environmental Decisions to E. Palma, J. Catford, and P. Vesk. Thanks to Irene Martin-Fores, Angela Moles, Mark van Kleunen, and four anonymous reviewers for comments that strongly improved earlier versions of the manuscript.