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Temperate deciduous forests of the Eastern U.S. are increasingly dominated by Eurasian shrubs and vines, many of which exhibit high shade tolerance and an ability to outcompete native tree seedlings and understory species. I describe a comparative case study of the growth behaviors of many of these invaders and their native relatives. Using several years of seasonal data on leaf production and photosynthesis in a common shade garden, I show that non-native invasive shrubs and vines extend the understory growing season by nearly a month compared to natives, revealing an 'autumn niche' that is nearly absent in our native shrubs. I then outline several other aspects of the biology of the invaders that suggest they are using alternative strategies of resource foraging, and explore the potential ecosystem impacts of these behaviors.
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