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Rapid Adaptation to Climate Facilitates Range Expansion of an Invasive Plant

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Science  18 Oct 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6156, pp. 364-366
DOI: 10.1126/science.1242121

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Invade and Adapt

The mechanisms by which plant and animal species spread into new habitats have become an increasing focus of ecological research, particularly in the context of climate change and species invasions. Colautti and Barrett (p. 364) examined the ecological consequence of local adaptation evolving rapidly along a 1000-kilometer climatic gradient in purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), one of the most notorious invasive plant species in North America. These invasive populations have evolved to become locally adapted within 50 to 100 years with important ecological consequences—increasing reproductive output by more than an order of magnitude.

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