Variation in Immune Response Among Native And Invading Genotypes of Yellow Starthistle

Invasive plants may leave enemies behind when they colonize a new habitat, allowing selection to favor increased investment in growth and/or reproduction over defensive traits. Previous studies have identified reduced diversity of potential bacterial pathogens and evolutionary increases in growth and reproduction in invading populations of yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis). My research uses a recently developed high-throughput assay of immune function to test for evidence of a trade-off between increased growth and defense against bacterial pathogens in yellow starthistle’s invasion of California.