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

TitleBiodiversity and belowground interactions mediate community invasion resistance against a tall herb invader
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsScherber 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.
JournalJournal of Plant Ecology
Volume3
Issue2
Pagination99 - 108
Date Published2010///
KeywordsAboveground competition, Belowground interactions, Competitive suppression, Root competition, Shoot exclusion, species richness
Tagsspecies richness, Aboveground competition, Belowground interactions, Competitive suppression, Root competition, Shoot exclusion
Abstract

AimsSpecies-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.MethodsWe 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 FindingsBoth 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. © 2010 The Author.

URLhttp://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-77952983259&partnerID=40&md5=0f88c0d94f4e382043471de636e2df11

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