OLM 8.1. Growth-defence trade-off and its role in biological invasion
Plants have invented different methods to minimize grazing damage. The resources invested into defence means less resource left for population growth. Examples in this OLM show that even if the defence-growth trade-off may be present in all plants capable of producing secondary metabolites to avoid herbivory its effect may not always be observed. A more complete picture can be obtained by considering other possible trade-off relations like the one between herbivore tolerance vs. herbivore defence, or avoiding generalist vs. specialized herbivores. Therefore, we may conclude that reduced defence and the consequential increase in competitive ability is a frequent but not exclusive explanation to the success of invasive plant species.