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Keywords:

  • Ambrosia artemisiifolia;
  • biological invasion;
  • drought;
  • EICA hypothesis;
  • herbivory;
  • life-history trade-offs;
  • light stress

Abstract

Introduced species represent opportunities to observe evolution over contemporary time scales, and as exotics encounter new environments, adaptive responses can occur, potentially contributing to invasion. Here, we compare 22 native North American populations and 12 introduced European populations of common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) in five common gardens (control, herbivory, light stress, nutrient stress and drought). We found evidence for improved growth and reproduction of the introduced populations in most environments, particularly in the light stress. However, under drought conditions, the introduced plants experienced more rapid wilting and mortality than their native counterparts, evidence consistent with a life-history trade-off between rapid growth and drought tolerance. Moreover, we found parallel latitudinal clines in flowering time and correlations between fitness components and the local climate of the source populations in both ranges. Together these data provide evidence for adaptation to local environmental conditions in the native and introduced range of common ragweed.