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Biodiversity and belowground interactions mediate community invasion resistance against a tall herb invader


Scherber, C; Mwangi, P N; Schmitz, M; Scherer-Lorenzen, M; Bessler, H; Engels, C; Eisenhauer, N; Migunova, V D; Scheu, S; Weisser, W W; Schulze, E D; Schmid, B (2010). Biodiversity and belowground interactions mediate community invasion resistance against a tall herb invader. Journal of Plant Ecology, 3(2):99-108.

Abstract

Aims
Species-rich plant communities are hypothesized to be more resistant against plant invasions because they use resources in a more efficient way. However, the relative contributions of aboveground competition and belowground interactions for invasion resistance are still poorly understood.
Methods
We compared the performance of Knautia arvensis transplants growing in plots differing in plant diversity both under full competition and with shoots of neighbors tied back to determine the relative strength of aboveground competition in suppressing this test invader without the confounding effect of shading. In addition, we assessed the effects of belowground competition and soil-borne pathogens on transplant performance.
Important Findings
Both aboveground competition and plant species richness strongly and independently affected invader performance. Aboveground biomass, height, leaf mass per area and flowering of transplanted individuals of K. arvensis decreased with increasing species richness of the host community. Species-rich and species-poor communities both imposed equally strong aboveground competition on K. arvensis. However, belowground interactions (especially belowground root competition) had strong negative effects on transplant performance. In addition, the presence of grasses in a plant community further reduced the performance of K. arvensis. Our results suggest that belowground competition can render species-rich host communities more suppressive to newly arriving species, thus enhancing community invasion resistance.

Abstract

Aims
Species-rich plant communities are hypothesized to be more resistant against plant invasions because they use resources in a more efficient way. However, the relative contributions of aboveground competition and belowground interactions for invasion resistance are still poorly understood.
Methods
We compared the performance of Knautia arvensis transplants growing in plots differing in plant diversity both under full competition and with shoots of neighbors tied back to determine the relative strength of aboveground competition in suppressing this test invader without the confounding effect of shading. In addition, we assessed the effects of belowground competition and soil-borne pathogens on transplant performance.
Important Findings
Both aboveground competition and plant species richness strongly and independently affected invader performance. Aboveground biomass, height, leaf mass per area and flowering of transplanted individuals of K. arvensis decreased with increasing species richness of the host community. Species-rich and species-poor communities both imposed equally strong aboveground competition on K. arvensis. However, belowground interactions (especially belowground root competition) had strong negative effects on transplant performance. In addition, the presence of grasses in a plant community further reduced the performance of K. arvensis. Our results suggest that belowground competition can render species-rich host communities more suppressive to newly arriving species, thus enhancing community invasion resistance.

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9 citations in Web of Science®
12 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:aboveground competition, competitive suppression, belowground interactions, root competition, shoot exclusion, species richness
Language:English
Date:June 2010
Deposited On:05 Jul 2010 15:49
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:09
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1752-9921
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/jpe/rtq003

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