Enhanced allelopathy and competitive ability of invasive plant Solidago canadensis in its introduced range

Journal of Plant Ecology (Impact Factor: 2.28). 06/2012; DOI: 10.1093/jpe/rts033

ABSTRACT Allelochemical contents (total phenolics, total flavones and total saponins) and allelopathic effects were greater in S. canadensis sampled from China than those from the USA as demonstrated in a field survey and a common garden experiment. Inhibition of K. striata germination using S. canadensis extracts or previously grown in soil was greater using samples from China than from the USA. The competitive ability of S. canadensis against K. striata was also greater for plants originating from China than those from the USA. Allelopathy could explain about 46% of the difference. These findings demonstrated that S. canadensis has evolved to be more allelopathic and competitive in the introduced range and that allelopathy significantly contributes to increased competitiveness for this invasive species.

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    ABSTRACT: The significance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in the process of plant invasion is still poorly understood. We hypothesize that invasive plants would change local AMF community structure in a way that would benefit themselves but confer less advantages to native plants, thus influencing the extent of plant interactions. An AMF spore community composed of five morphospecies of Glomus with equal density (initial AMF spore community, I-AMF) was constructed to test this hypothesis. The results showed that the invasive species, Solidago canadensis, significantly increased the relative abundance of G. geosperum and G. etunicatum (altered AMP spore community, A-AMF) compared to G. mosseae, which was a dominant morphospecies in the monoculture of native Kummerowia striata. The shift in AMF spore community composition driven by S. canadensis generated functional variation between I-AMP and A-AMF communities. For example, I-AMP increased biomass and nutrient uptake of K. striata in both monocultures and mixtures of K. striata and S. canadensis compared to A-AMP. In contrast, A-AMP significantly enhanced root nitrogen (N) acquisition of S. canadensis grown in mixture. Moreover, mycorrhizal-mediated N-15 uptake provided direct evidence that I-AMF and A-AMF differed in their affinities with native and invading species. The non-significant effect of A-AMF on K. striata did not result from allelopathy as root exudates of S. canadensis exhibited positive effects on seed germination and biomass of K. striata under naturally occurring concentrations. When considered together, we found that A-AMF facilitated the invasion of S. canadensis through decreasing competitiveness of the native plant K. striata. The results supported our hypothesis and can be used to improve our understanding of an ecosystem-based perspective towards exotic plant invasion. (C) 2014 Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.
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May 21, 2014