Habitats of native and exotic plants in Colorado shortgrass steppe: A comparative approach

P. M. Kotanen, J. Bergelson, D. L. Hazlett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Invading species often are close relatives, and therefore share many characteristics as a consequence of their common ancestry. This tends to confound studies of invasions, since many irrelevant characteristics are likely to be correlated with a species' geographic origin (alien or native). We address this problem by using phylogenetically independent comparisons to investigate the habitat characteristics of plants of the Central Plains Experimental Range (Colorado, U.S.A.). We initially show that exotic species are more likely than natives to occur in riparian zones, roadsides, and disturbed sites, and less likely to occur in grassland. The relationship between exotic origins and disturbed sites disappears when phylogenetic dependence is removed from the analyses; in contrast, the other associations persist following phylogenetic detrending, indicating that aliens and their native relatives consistently differ in their ability to exploit riparian, roadside, and grassland habitats. Our results indicate that disturbed sites currently are dominated by only a few groups of related exotic ruderals, while the ability to exploit roadsides and riparian zones has been and may continue to be important for the success of many taxa of invaders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)664-672
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Journal of Botany
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998


  • Biological invasions
  • Comparative methods
  • Disturbance
  • Grasslands
  • Phylogeny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Habitats of native and exotic plants in Colorado shortgrass steppe: A comparative approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this