June 18th, 2010
A rampant garden escapee, Singapore daisy (Wedelia trilobata, now Sphagneticola trilobata) can grow much more efficiently under higher carbon dioxide than a similar native species in China.
In controlled growth chambers, Li-Ying Song and co-researchers found that elevated CO2 over 103 days increased the photosynthetic energy-use efficiency of W. trilobata by 85.3%, close to double that in the native W. chinensis, which increased by 43.8%.
Elevated CO2 also stimulated more biomass production in W. trilobata (58.9%) than W. chinensis (48.1%).
Native to Central America, W. trilobata was introduced to China in the 1970s as a garden plant. It has become a serious weed in southern China, invading roadsides and plantations, as it has in many tropical and subtropical areas.
The native W. chinensis has a similar morphology and life history, but grows more slowly.
The authors conclude that the higher energy use efficiency of the invader under elevated CO2 is likely to increase its competitive advantage over W. chinensis, and promote its invasion.
Banks SC, Ling SD, Johnson CR, Piggott MP, Williamson JE and Beheregaray LB. 2010. Genetic structure of a recent climate change-driven range extension. Molecular Ecology 19(10): 2011-2024.