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

MPS-Authors
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62496

Mwangi,  P. N.
Emeritus Group, Prof. E.-D. Schulze, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62542

Schmitz,  M.
Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62549

Schulze,  E. D.
Emeritus Group, Prof. E.-D. Schulze, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Scherber, C., Mwangi, P. N., Schmitz, M., Scherer-Lorenzen, M., Bessler, H., Engels, C., et al. (2010). Biodiversity and belowground interactions mediate community invasion resistance against a tall herb invader. Journal of Plant Ecology, 3(2), 99-108. doi:10.1093/jpe/rtq003.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-DAB1-2
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.