Do the impacts of alien invasive plants differ from expansive native ones? An experimental study on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi communities.
No studies have compared so far the effects of alien invasive and expansive native (widespread, mono-dominant) plants on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). Four global or European most successful invaders (Impatiens glandulifera, Reynoutria japonica, Rudbeckia laciniata, Solidago gigantea) and two expansive plants native to Europe (Artemisia vulgaris, Phalaris arundinacea) were grown in pots to elucidate the magnitude and direction of changes in AMF abundance, species richness, and species composition in soils from under multispecies native vegetation. In a second stage, the effects of these changes on a native plant, Plantago lanceolata, were assessed. Plant species identity had larger impact on AMF abundance, species richness, and species composition as well as on P. lanceolata than origin of the species (alien vs. native). This could be due to the character of AMF relationships with the plants, i.e., their mycorrhizal status and dependency on AMF. However, the alterations induced by the plant species in soil chemical properties rather than in AMF community were the major drivers of differences in shoot mass and photosynthetic performance of P. lanceolata. We determined that the plants produced species-specific effects on soil properties that, in turn, resulted in species-specific soil feedbacks on the native plant. These effects were not consistent within groups of invaders or natives.