Faculty Publications

Size-Dependent Analyses Provide Insights Into The Reproductive Allocation And Plasticity Of Invasive And Native Typha

Document Type



Allometry, Cattails, Invasiveness, Nutrient availability, Plasticity

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Biological Invasions





First Page


Last Page



Invasive species increasingly threaten ecosystems worldwide making it important to better understand the traits, including sexual reproductive allocation and its plasticity, that make certain species more successful invaders than others. Size differences between native and non-native invasive congeners are common, yet, when comparing allocation within and among species many studies fail to consider the size-dependency (allometry) of allocation patterns. Using a mesocosm experiment conducted at two locations and incorporating a nutrient gradient, we compared sexual reproductive allocation and its plasticity (correcting for size) between three closely related taxa of cattails with varying degrees of invasiveness: Typha latifolia (native, non-invasive), Typha angustifolia (non-native, invasive), Typha × glauca (their hybrid, invasive). We found that the non-native and hybrid taxa (both invasive) allocated more to sexual reproduction than the native, non-invasive taxon even after correcting for aboveground plant size. However, the non-native and hybrid taxa did not differ from each other when accounting for plant size, even though a size-independent analysis indicated they did. This reveals these two taxa differed in plant size, not allocation patterns. Surprisingly, the most invasive taxon (the hybrid) was the least plastic in sexual reproductive allocation in response to nutrients at one site. Our study adds to the growing body of literature suggesting trait values rather than trait plasticity contribute to invasiveness, but ours is unique in its size-dependent analysis of sexual reproductive allocation, its plasticity, and differential taxon invasiveness.


Department of Biology

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version