Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi favor invasive Echinops sphaerocephalus when grown in competition with native Inula conyzae.

Abstract

In a globalized world, plant invasions are common challenges for native ecosystems. Although a considerable number of invasive plants form arbuscular mycorrhizae, interactions between arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and invasive and native plants are not well understood. In this study, we conducted a greenhouse experiment examining how AM fungi affect interactions of co-occurring plant species in the family Asteracea, invasive Echinops sphaerocephalus and native forb of central Europe Inula conyzae. The effects of initial soil disturbance, including the effect of intact or disturbed arbuscular mycorrhizal networks (CMNs), were examined. AM fungi supported the success of invasiveE. sphaerocephalus in competition with native I. conyzae, regardless of the initial disturbance of CMNs. The presence of invasive E. sphaerocephalus decreased mycorrhizal colonization in I. conyzae, with a concomitant loss in mycorrhizal benefits. Our results confirm AM fungi represent one important mechanism of plant invasion for E. sphaerocephalus in semi-natural European grasslands.