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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2011, Article ID 737298, 6 pages
Research Article

Variation in Specificity of Soil-Borne Pathogens from a Plant's Native Range versus Its Nonnative Range

1United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Fort Keogh Livestock & Range Research Laboratory, 243 Fort Keogh Road, Miles City, MT, 59301-4016, USA
2Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Centre for Terrestrial Ecology, Department of Multitrophic Interactions, Boterhoeksestraat 48, 6666 GA Heteren, The Netherlands
3Laboratory of Nematology, Wageningen University, Binnenhaven 5, 6709 PD Wageningen, The Netherlands
4Department of Ecogenomics, Institute for Water and Wetland Research Radboud, University Nijmegen Huygens, building Heyendaalseweg 135, 6525 AJ Nijmegen, The Netherlands
5Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 47405-3700, USA

Received 1 November 2010; Accepted 1 February 2011

Academic Editor: Bradford Hawkins

Copyright © 2011 Kurt O. Reinhart et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Existing theory for invasive nonnative species emphasizes the role of escaping specialist enemies. A useful approach is to reciprocally transplant enemies in a controlled and common experiment to quantify the interaction specificity of enemies from plant's native and nonnative ranges. Quantitative measures of interaction specificity, from two experiments with three host genotypes (Belgium, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania) and 37 Pythium isolates (10 Europe and 27 USA), revealed that Pythium pathogens from populations of Prunus serotina in its native range were not host genotype specific while Pythium pathogens from its nonnative range vary with host genotype. This study provides empirical evidence suggesting that Pythium from the nonnative range are either preadapted to or are actively adapting to this host. Although only for a single pathosystem, this study illustrates the importance of understanding enemy impact and host-specificity to assess whether an invader has escaped its natural enemies.