Native plant diversity increases herbivory to non-natives

Ian S. Pearse, Andrew L. Hipp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is often an inverse relationship between the diversity of a plant community and the invasibility of that community by non-native plants. Native herbivores that colonize novel plants may contribute to diversity-invasibility relationships by limiting the relative success of non-native plants. Here, we show that, in large collections of non-native oak trees at sites across the USA, non-native oaks introduced to regions with greater oak species richness accumulated greater leaf damage than in regions with low oak richness. Underlying this trend was the ability of herbivores to exploit non-native plants that were close relatives to their native host. In diverse oak communities, non-native trees were on average more closely related to native trees and received greater leaf damage than those in depauperate oak communities. Because insect herbivores colonize non-native plants that are similar to their native hosts, in communities with greater native plant diversity, non-natives experience greater herbivory.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20141841
Pages (from-to)20141841
JournalProceedings.Biological sciences / The Royal Society
Issue number1794
StatePublished - Sep 17 2014


  • INHS
  • Biotic resistance hypothesis
  • Host breadth
  • Enemy release hypothesis
  • Invasions
  • Phylogenetic relatedness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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