Abundance of introduced species at home predicts abundance away in herbaceous communities

Jennifer Firn, Joslin L. Moore, Andrew S. MacDougall, Elizabeth T. Borer, Eric W. Seabloom, Janneke HilleRisLambers, W. Stanley Harpole, Elsa E. Cleland, Cynthia S. Brown, Johannes M.H. Knops, Suzanne M. Prober, David A. Pyke, Kelly A. Farrell, John D. Bakker, Lydia R. O'Halloran, Peter B. Adler, Scott L. Collins, Carla M. D'Antonio, Michael J. Crawley, Elizabeth M. WolkovichKimberly J. La Pierre, Brett A. Melbourne, Yann Hautier, John W. Morgan, Andrew D.B. Leakey, Adam Kay, Rebecca McCulley, Kendi F. Davies, Carly J. Stevens, Cheng Jin Chu, Karen D. Holl, Julia A. Klein, Philip A. Fay, Nicole Hagenah, Kevin P. Kirkman, Yvonne M. Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Many ecosystems worldwide are dominated by introduced plant species, leading to loss of biodiversity and ecosystem function. A common but rarely tested assumption is that these plants are more abundant in introduced vs. native communities, because ecological or evolutionary-based shifts in populations underlie invasion success. Here, data for 26 herbaceous species at 39 sites, within eight countries, revealed that species abundances were similar at native (home) and introduced (away) sites - grass species were generally abundant home and away, while forbs were low in abundance, but more abundant at home. Sites with six or more of these species had similar community abundance hierarchies, suggesting that suites of introduced species are assembling similarly on different continents. Overall, we found that substantial changes to populations are not necessarily a pre-condition for invasion success and that increases in species abundance are unusual. Instead, abundance at home predicts abundance away, a potentially useful additional criterion for biosecurity programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-281
Number of pages8
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Biogeography
  • Biosecurity
  • Disturbance
  • Global meta-study
  • Homogenization of communities
  • Invasion paradox
  • Mechanisms of invasion
  • Nutrient Network
  • Plant invasion
  • Propagule pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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