Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Elevated functional versatility of the soil microbial community associated with the invader Carpobrotus edulis across a broad geographical scale.

Abstract

Exotic invasive plants may shape their own rhizosphere microbial community during global invasions. Nevertheless, the impacts of such plant invasions on the functional capacities of soil microbial communities remain poorly explored. We used an approach at a broad geographical scale to estimate the composition and abundance of the fungal functional groups, as well as the bacterial metabolic functions, associated with the rhizospheres of Carpobrotus edulis (L.) L. Bolus and the predominant native plants in coastal ecosystems located in different geographical regions. We used the ASV method to infer the potential functions of the soil microbial community with the PICRUSt2 and FUNGuild tools. The predictive functional profiling of the bacterial communities differed between the rhizospheres of the invasive and native plants, regardless of the biogeographic location of the invaded soil. Some predicted pathways related to the biosynthesis of nucleotides such as ppGpp and pppGpp, lipids, carbohydrates and secondary metabolites and the degradation of organic matter were enriched in the C. edulis rhizosphere. Moreover, the invasive microbiota was characterised by a greater richness and diversity of catabolic enzymes involved in nutrients cycling and higher relative abundances of saprotrophs and pathotrophs. Invasion by C. edulis promoted a shift in the potential functional versatility of the soil microbial communities, which can cope with nutrient limitations and biotic stress, and can favour the establishment of the invasive plant, but also alter the functioning and stability of the invaded ecosystems.