Rapid evolution and range expansion of an invasive plant are driven by provenance–environment interactions



To improve our ability to prevent and manage biological invasions, we must understand their ecological and evolutionary drivers. We are often able to explain invasions after they happen, but our predictive ability is limited. Here, we show that range expansions of introduced Pinus taeda result from an interaction between genetic provenance and climate and that temperature and precipitation clines predict the invasive performance of particular provenances. Furthermore, we show that genotypes can occupy climate niche spaces different from those observed in their native ranges and, at least in our case, that admixture is not a main driver of invasion. Genotypes respond to climate in distinct ways, and these interactions affect the ability of populations to expand their ranges. While rapid evolution in introduced ranges is a mechanism at later stages of the invasion process, the introduction of adapted genotypes is a key driver of naturalisation of populations of introduced species.