Expression of Constitutive and Inducible Chemical Defenses in Native and Invasive Populations of Alliaria petiolata

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The Evolution of Increased Competitive Ability (EICA) hypothesis posits that invasive plants in introduced habitats with reduced herbivore pressure will evolve reduced levels of costly resistance traits. In light of this hypothesis, we examined the constitutive and inducible expression of five chemical defense traits in Alliaria petiolata from four invasive North American and seven native European populations. When grown under common conditions, significant variation among populations within continents was found for trypsin inhibitors and peroxidase activity, and glucosinolates and trypsin inhibitors were significantly jasmonate-inducible across populations. Across populations, constitutive levels of glucosinolates and trypsin inhibitors were negatively correlated with their degree of induction, with three North American populations tending to have lower constitutive levels and higher inducibility of glucosinolates than the seven European populations. Alliarinoside and isovitexin 6″-O-β-d-glucopyranoside levels were both higher in North American plants than in European plants, but levels of these compounds were generally increased by jasmonate in European plants and decreased by the same treatment in North American plants. Aside from the tendency for invasive populations to have reduced constitutive glucosinolate levels coupled with increased inducibility, little support for the predictions of EICA was evident in the chemical defenses that we studied.



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