Research Topic

Invasive Alien Plants and Plant Pathogens

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About this Research Topic

Globally, forests cover nearly one third of the land area and contain over 80% of terrestrial biodiversity. Scientists estimate that one million of the planet's eight million species are currently threatened with extinction, with invasive alien species (IAS) being considered one of the main drivers of species loss. IAS are species that are not native to a specific location and have a tendency to prosper in new environments at the expense of indigenous species. Globalization is fast-tracking the movement of alien plant, animal, insect and microbe species around the world. Among IAS are organisms that have been deliberately introduced to gain various benefits. The probability that an invader can survive, reach maturity, reproduce and thrive depends on its traits relative to the traits of the established species. At the species level, the IAS impacts are expressed through processes such as predation, parasitism and competitive exclusion, these eventually lead to native population declines and species extinctions. Successful invaders should mainly decrease the abundances of species that are competitively similar to themselves (that are close to them on the trade-off surface). Through their impacts on ecologically related native species, IAS can have disruptive cascading effects on additional species and ecosystem processes, these include changes to trophic structures.

This Research Topic welcomes Original Research, Review and Opinion articles that provide new insights into the mechanisms that influence the resilience of native forest species and their ecological communities towards invasive alien species, with focus on invasive plants and plant pathogens.

In particular, we welcome:

1. Studies with focus on harnessing mechanisms that influence the performance of invasive alien plants or plant pathogens and their native competitors in forest ecosystems. For example:
- To what extent does genetic and/or epigenetic diversity within the population of native species influence their resilience?
- Does gene introgression between the native and the phylogenetically related invasive species influence the outcome of their interaction?
- r/K theory: do species-specific differences in selection of traits that trade-off between quantity and quality of offspring influence the performance of invasive alien species and their native competitors?
- To what degree do differences in reproductive mechanisms (sexual and/or vegetative) between IAS and native species play a role on IAS spread?
- Which are the common traits of IAS that confer their higher performances against pathogens, pests or predators?

2. Studies on the cascading effects of invasive plants and plant pathogens on additional species in forest ecosystems. For example:
- Why are certain invasive species disruptive to forest ecosystems but others are not?
- What are the ecosystem characteristics that contribute to absorbing or resisting invasive species in forest environments?


Keywords: Native and Invasive Species, Forest Ecosystems, Mechanisms of Interaction, Cascading Effects


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Globally, forests cover nearly one third of the land area and contain over 80% of terrestrial biodiversity. Scientists estimate that one million of the planet's eight million species are currently threatened with extinction, with invasive alien species (IAS) being considered one of the main drivers of species loss. IAS are species that are not native to a specific location and have a tendency to prosper in new environments at the expense of indigenous species. Globalization is fast-tracking the movement of alien plant, animal, insect and microbe species around the world. Among IAS are organisms that have been deliberately introduced to gain various benefits. The probability that an invader can survive, reach maturity, reproduce and thrive depends on its traits relative to the traits of the established species. At the species level, the IAS impacts are expressed through processes such as predation, parasitism and competitive exclusion, these eventually lead to native population declines and species extinctions. Successful invaders should mainly decrease the abundances of species that are competitively similar to themselves (that are close to them on the trade-off surface). Through their impacts on ecologically related native species, IAS can have disruptive cascading effects on additional species and ecosystem processes, these include changes to trophic structures.

This Research Topic welcomes Original Research, Review and Opinion articles that provide new insights into the mechanisms that influence the resilience of native forest species and their ecological communities towards invasive alien species, with focus on invasive plants and plant pathogens.

In particular, we welcome:

1. Studies with focus on harnessing mechanisms that influence the performance of invasive alien plants or plant pathogens and their native competitors in forest ecosystems. For example:
- To what extent does genetic and/or epigenetic diversity within the population of native species influence their resilience?
- Does gene introgression between the native and the phylogenetically related invasive species influence the outcome of their interaction?
- r/K theory: do species-specific differences in selection of traits that trade-off between quantity and quality of offspring influence the performance of invasive alien species and their native competitors?
- To what degree do differences in reproductive mechanisms (sexual and/or vegetative) between IAS and native species play a role on IAS spread?
- Which are the common traits of IAS that confer their higher performances against pathogens, pests or predators?

2. Studies on the cascading effects of invasive plants and plant pathogens on additional species in forest ecosystems. For example:
- Why are certain invasive species disruptive to forest ecosystems but others are not?
- What are the ecosystem characteristics that contribute to absorbing or resisting invasive species in forest environments?


Keywords: Native and Invasive Species, Forest Ecosystems, Mechanisms of Interaction, Cascading Effects


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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