Belowground legacies of Pinus contorta invasion and removal result in multiple mechanisms of invasional meltdown
Dickie, Ian; St John, M. G.; Yeates, G. W.; Morse, C. W.; Bonner, K. I.; Orwin, K. H.; Peltzer, D. A.
Plant invasions can change soil biota and nutrients in ways that drive subsequent plant communities, particularly when co-invading with belowground mutualists such as ectomycorrhizal fungi. These effects can persist following removal of the invasive plant and, combined with effects of removal per se, influence subsequent plant communities and ecosystem functioning. We used field observations and a soil bioassay with multiple plant species to determine the belowground effects and post-removal legacy caused by invasion of the non-native tree Pinus contorta into a native plant community. Pinus facilitated ectomycorrhizal infection of the co-occurring invasive tree, Pseudotsuga menziesii, but not conspecific Pinus (which always had ectomycorrhizas) nor the native pioneer Kunzea ericoides (which never had ectomycorrhizas). Pinus also caused a major shift in soil nutrient cycling as indicated by increased bacterial dominance, NO₃⁻N (17-fold increase) and available phosphorus (3.2-fold increase) in soils, which in turn promoted increased growth of graminoids. These results parallel field observations, where Pinus removal is associated with invasion by non-native grasses and herbs, and suggest that legacies of Pinus on soil nutrient cycling thus indirectly promote invasion of other non-native plant species. Our findings demonstrate that multi-trophic below-ground legacies are an important but hitherto largely unconsidered factor in plant community reassembly following invasive plant removal.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsbiogeochemical processes; biological invasions; ecosystem function; ectomycorrhizas; facilitation; fungal; bacterial ratio; legacy effects; plant-soil interactions; removal effects; fungal : bacterial ratio; plant–soil interactions
Fields of Research050102 Ecosystem Function; 050103 Invasive Species Ecology; 0705 Forestry Sciences; 0503 Soil Sciences; 050303 Soil Biology; 070502 Forestry Biomass and Bioproducts
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