Effects of global risks - nitrogen additions on growth and competitive relations among invasive and native congeneric species - Bidens frondosa.
Human activity has greatly increased the amount of biologically available nitrogen entering the natural environment. Addition of N can affect growth of and competitive interactions between native and invasive plants, thus increasing or decreasing the risk of invasion by alien species. Bidens frondosa is an invasive weed native to North America that recently has begun to spread in China. The influence of soil nutrient content on B. frondosa invasion has not yet been reported. In a common garden experiment, we compared the growth and competitive effects between B. frondosa and its co-occurring native congeners - B. tripartita and B. biternata - under three N levels (0 g m-2, 1 g m-2, 5 g m-2) to assess whether increased levels of N modifies risk of B. frondosa invasion. Our results showed that while N additions increased both the growth and competitive advantage of B. frondosa as compared with that of the native congener species, results are particularly pronounced under high N levels. While growth responses to N addition varied little among invasive populations under high N levels, the competitive effect of B. frondosa did vary among populations and was significantly greater than that of the congeners. Anthropogenic N additions are likely to increase risks of B. frondosa invasions. Thus, management efforts should focus on the reduction of N input to ecosystems to mitigate invasions by B. frondosa..