Common mycorrhizal networks influence the distribution of mineral nutrients between an invasive plant, Solidago canadensis, and a native plant, Kummerowa striata.
Invasive species often reduce ecosystem services and lead to a serious threat to native biodiversity. Roots of invasive plants are often linked to roots of native plants by common mycorrhizal networks (CMNs) of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, but whether and how CMNs mediate interactions between invasive and native plant species remains largely uninvestigated. We conducted two microcosm experiments, one in which we amended the soil with mineral N and another in which we amended the soil with mineral P. In each experiment, we grew a pair of test plants consisting of Kummerowia striata (native to our research site) and Solidago canadensis (an invasive species). CMNs were established between the plants, and these were either left intact or severed. Intact CMNs increased growth and nutrient acquisition by S. canadensis while they decreased nutrient acquisition by K. striata in comparison with severed CMNs. 15N and P analyses indicated that compared to severed CMNs, intact CMNs preferentially transferred mineral nutrients to S. canadensis. CMNs produced by different species of AM fungi had slightly different effects on the interaction between these two plant species. These results highlight the role of CMNs in the understanding of interactions between the invasive species S. canadensis and its native neighbor.