Foliar Mono- and Sesquiterpene Contents in Relation to Leaf Economic Spectrum in Native and Alien Species in Oahu (Hawai'i)

Jordi Sardans, Joan Llusià, Ülo Niinemets, Sue Owen, Josep Peñuelas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Capacity for terpene production may confer advantage in protection against abiotic stresses such as heat and drought, and also against herbivore and pathogen attack. Plant invasive success has been intense in the Hawaiian islands, but little is known about terpene content in native and alien plant species on these islands. We conducted a screening of leaf terpene concentrations in 35 native and 38 alien dominant plant species on Oahu island. Ten (29%) of the 35 native species and 15 (39%) of the 38 alien species contained terpenes in the leaves. This is the first report of terpene content for the ten native species, and for 10 of the 15 alien species. A total of 156 different terpenes (54 monoterpenes and 102 sesquiterpenes) were detected. Terpene content had no phylogenetic significance among the studied species. Alien species contained significantly more terpenes in leaves (average ± SE = 1965 ± 367 μg g-1) than native species (830 ± 227 μg g-1). Alien species showed significantly higher photosynthetic capacity, N content, and lower Leaf Mass Area (LMA) than native species, and showed higher total terpene leaf content per N and P leaf content. Alien species, thus, did not follow the expected pattern of "excess carbon" in comparison with native species. Instead, patterns were consistent with the "nutrient driven synthesis" hypothesis. Comparing alien and native species, the results also support the modified Evolution of Increased Competitive Ability (EICA) hypothesis that suggests that alien success may be favored by a defense system based on an increase in concentrations of less costly defenses (terpenes) against generalist herbivores. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)210-226
    JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


    • "Excess carbon" hypothesis
    • Alien species
    • Hawaiian Islands
    • LMA
    • Modified EICA hypothesis
    • Monoterpenes
    • Native species
    • Nitrogen
    • Nutrient driven hypothesis
    • Phosphorus
    • Photosynthetic capacity
    • Sesquiterpenes
    • Terpene content


    Dive into the research topics of 'Foliar Mono- and Sesquiterpene Contents in Relation to Leaf Economic Spectrum in Native and Alien Species in Oahu (Hawai'i)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this