SMARTER@Neobiota Conference on invasive species


Prof. Heinz Müller-Schaerer presenting the COST action SMARTER

Many SMARTER members presented their work on ragweed at Neobiota 2014, the 8th International Conference on Biological Invasions: From understanding to action (3-8 Nov, Antalya, Turkey).

The 16 studies covered distribution patterns and pathways of introduction in particular countries, understanding phenotypic variation and the invasion process, testing the effects of herbicides and biological control methods, and finally successful management strategies.

Oral presentations by SMARTER members about ragweed

  • Uwe Starfinger (Germany): Can the invasion of common ragweed be halted? New insights from an international project
  • Baruch Rubin (Israel): Ambrosia confertiflora in Israel – weed invasion and possible management
  • Božena Mitić (Serbia): Invasive alien plants in Croatia – distributional patterns and range size
  • Hüseyin Önen (Turkey): The Black Sea highway: the route of common ragweed invasion in Turkey
  • Suzanne Lommen (Switzerland): A SMARTER approach to assess the impact of an established, exotic leaf beetle on invasive ragweed Europe
  • Heinz Müller-Schärer (Switzerland): The ragweed leaf beetle landed in Europe: fortunate introduction or threat?
  • Florencia Yannelli (Germany): Limiting similarity by functional group resemblance: Preventing plant invasion during grassland restoration

Poster presentations by SMARTER members about ragweed

  • Christian Bohren(Switzerland): Experiences with Ambrosia in Switzerland
  • Müller-Schärer & Lommen(Switzerland): EU-COST Action on „Sustainable management of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in Europe“ (COST FA1203-SMARTER): opportunities and challenges
  • Sava Vrbnicanin et al. (Serbia): Response of ragweed to herbicides: imazamox, tribenuron-methyl and glyphosate
  • Ana Matkovic et al. (Serbia) : Effect of essential oils on germinated seeds of ragweed
  • Hana Skálová et al. (Czech Republic): Factors shaping the distribution of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in the Czech Republic
  • Erzsébet Nadasy et al. (Hungary): Biological characteristics of common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) – the most dangerous weed in Hungary
  • Ahmet Uludag et al. (Turkey): A preliminary checklist of the Alien Flora of Turkey
  • William Ortmans et al. (Belgium): Disentangling the sources of phenotypic variation in Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.: the role of seed traits
  • Tóth et al. (Slowakia, Switzerland): Ragweed leaf beetle: a friend or a foe?


Life history trait differentiation and local adaptation in invasive populations of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in China

Citation: Li, X.-M., She, D.-Y., Zhang, D.-Y., Liao, W.-J. (2014)  Life history trait differentiation and local adaptation in invasive populations of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in China. Oecologia. in Press

Springer Link

Abstract: Local adaptation has been suggested to play an important role in range expansion, particularly among invasive species. However, the extent to which local adaptation affects the success of an invasive species and the factors that contribute to local adaptation are still unclear. This study aimed to investigate a case of population divergence that may have contributed to the local adaptation of invasive populations of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in China. Common garden experiments in seven populations indicated clinal variations along latitudinal gradients, with plants from higher latitudes exhibiting earlier flowering and smaller sizes at flowering. In reciprocal transplant experiments, plants of a northern Beijing origin produced more seeds at their home site than plants of a southern Wuhan origin, and the Wuhan-origin plants had grown taller at flowering than the Beijing-origin plants in Wuhan, which is believed to facilitate pollen dispersal. These results suggest that plants of Beijing origin may be locally adapted through female fitness and plants from Wuhan possibly locally adapted through male fitness. Selection and path analysis suggested that the phenological and growth traits of both populations have been influenced by natural selection and that flowering time has played an important role through its direct and indirect effects on the relative fitness of each individual. This study evidences the life history trait differentiation and local adaptation during range expansion of invasive A. artemisiifolia in China.

Risks of non-target attack by Ophraella communa: poster at Neobiota 2014 conference


This poster by Peter Tóth, Stéphanie von Bergen & Heinz Müller-Schaerer was presented at the Neobiota 2014 conference held in Antalya, Turkey, November 2-8 2014. (Pdf 5,3 MB)

The Ambrosia leaf beetle (Ophraella communa LeSage, Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) mainly feeds on ragweeds, especially Ambrosia artemisiifolia. Recently, during the summer 2014, the species was found to feed as larva and adult under field conditions on Artemisia vulgaris L., Helianthus annuus L., H. tuberosus L., Inula graveolens (L.) Desf., and Xanthium strumarium L.

O. communa is regarded as a successful biological control agent against A. artemisiifolia in China, but the picture is not straightforward. The present study suggests that additional experiments are needed to assess the impact and the risks of non-target attack by this potential biological control agent under field conditions.