Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Facilitation promotes invasions in plant-associated microbial communities.

Abstract

While several studies have established a positive correlation between community diversity and invasion resistance, it is less clear how species interactions within resident communities shape this process. Here, we experimentally tested how antagonistic and facilitative pairwise interactions within resident model microbial communities predict invasion by the plant-pathogenic bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum. We found that facilitative resident community interactions promoted and antagonistic interactions suppressed invasions both in the lab and in the tomato plant rhizosphere. Crucially, pairwise interactions reliably explained observed invasion outcomes also in multispecies communities, and mechanistically, this was linked to direct inhibition of the invader by antagonistic communities (antibiosis), and to a lesser degree by resource competition between members of the resident community and the invader. Together, our findings suggest that the type and strength of pairwise interactions can reliably predict the outcome of invasions in more complex multispecies communities.