Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Plant invasion impacts on fungal community structure and function depend on soil warming and nitrogen enrichment.

Abstract

The impacts of invasive species on biodiversity may be mitigated or exacerbated by abiotic environmental changes. Invasive plants can restructure soil fungal communities with important implications for native biodiversity and nutrient cycling, yet fungal responses to invasion may depend on numerous anthropogenic stressors. In this study, we experimentally invaded a long-term soil warming and simulated nitrogen deposition experiment with the widespread invasive plant Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) and tested the responses of soil fungal communities to invasion, abiotic factors, and their interaction. We focused on the phytotoxic garlic mustard because it suppresses native mycorrhizae across forests of North America. We found that invasion in combination with warming, but not under ambient conditions or elevated nitrogen, significantly reduced soil fungal biomass and ectomycorrhizal relative abundances and increased relative abundances of general soil saprotrophs and fungal genes encoding for hydrolytic enzymes. These results suggest that warming potentially exacerbates fungal responses to plant invasion. Soils collected from uninvaded and invaded plots across eight forests spanning a 4°C temperature gradient further demonstrated that the magnitude of fungal responses to invasion was positively correlated with mean annual temperature. Our study is one of the first empirical tests to show that the impacts of invasion on fungal communities depends on additional anthropogenic pressures and were greater in concert with warming than under elevated nitrogen or ambient conditions.