Trait means and reaction norms: The consequences of climate change/invasion interactions at the organism level

Charlene Janion, Hans Petter Leinaas, John S Terblanche, Steven Loudon Chown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


How the impacts of climate change on biological invasions will play out at the mechanistic level is not well understood. Two major hypotheses have been proposed: invasive species have a suite of traits that enhance their performance relative to indigenous ones over a reasonably wide set of circumstances; invasive species have greater phenotypic plasticity than their indigenous counterparts and will be better able to retain performance under altered conditions. Thus, two possibly independent, but complementary mechanistic perspectives can be adopted: based on trait means and on reaction norms. Here, to demonstrate how this approach might be applied to understand interactions between climate change and invasion, we investigate variation in the egg development times and their sensitivity to temperature amongst indigenous and introduced springtail species in a cool temperate ecosystem (Marion Island, 46 degrees 54 S37 degrees 54 E) that is undergoing significant climate change. Generalized linear model analyses of the linear part of the development rate curves revealed significantly higher mean trait values in the invasive species compared to indigenous species, but no significant interactions were found when comparing the thermal reaction norms. In addition, the invasive species had a higher hatching success than the indigenous species at high temperatures. This work demonstrates the value of explicitly examining variation in trait means and reaction norms among indigenous and invasive species to understand the mechanistic basis of variable responses to climate change among these groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1365 - 1380
Number of pages16
JournalEvolutionary Ecology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Cite this