Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Interactive effects of resource enrichment and resident diversity on invasion of native grassland by Lolium arundinaceum.

Abstract

Resident diversity and resource enrichment are both recognized as potentially important determinants of community invasibility, but the effects of these biotic and abiotic factors on invasions are often investigated separately, and little work has been done to directly compare their relative effects or to examine their potential interactions. Here, we evaluate the individual and interactive effects of resident diversity and resource enrichment on plant community resistance to invasion. We factorially manipulated plant diversity and the enrichment of belowground (soil nitrogen) and aboveground (light) resources in low-fertility grassland communities invaded by Lolium arundinaceum, the most abundant invasive grass in eastern North America. Soil nitrogen enrichment enhanced L. arundinaceum performance, but increased resident diversity dampened this effect of nitrogen enrichment. Increased light availability (via clipping of aboveground vegetation) had a negligible effect on community invasibility. These results demonstrate that a community's susceptibility to invasion can be contingent upon the type of resource pulse and the diversity of resident species. In order to assess the generality of these results, future studies that test the effects of resident diversity and resource enrichment against a range of invasive species and in other environmental contexts (e.g., sites differing in soil fertility and light regimes) are needed. Such studies may help to resolve conflicting interpretations of the diversity-invasibility relationship and provide direction for management strategies.