Above- and belowground effects of plant-soil feedback from exotic Solidago canadensis on native Tanacetum vulgare.
Plant-soil feedback responses for native and invasive plant species are well documented, but little is known about how feedback effects from the soil biota community affect plant interactions with herbivores. Here we examine whether changes of the soil biota community by the successful invader Solidago canadensis influence growth and herbivore susceptibility of two coexisting native plant species (Tanacetum vulgare, Melilotus albus). Root zone soil from two different habitat types ('urban' and 'suburban') was collected and used as inocula in a plant-soil feedback study. Each plant species was grown either in its own soil biota community or with the community with a history from the competitive invasive or native plant species. To identify potential drivers of responses to the different soil biota communities, we analyzed root colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and dark-septate endophytes (DSE), and the community composition of soil inhabiting nematodes at the end of our experiment. Results show that S. canadensis and M. albus were not affected by soil history. In contrast, T. vulgare showed increased plant growth in 'foreign' soil derived from S. canadensis root zone compared with its 'home' soil suggesting a growth promotion by the soil biota community of S. canadensis. From the examined drivers, the abundance of DSE explained the growth response of T. vulgare to the S. canadensis soil biota community best. However, shoot herbivory by banded snails (Cepaea nemoralis, C. hortensis) was not affected by soil history, but by the habitat type where the soil inocula originated. Our study shows that a native plant species may profit from the presence of an invasive competitor mediated by changes in the soil biota community.