Climate warming causes range shifts of many species toward higher latitudes and altitudes. However, range shifts of host species do not necessarily proceed at the same rates as those of their enemies and symbionts. Here, we examined how a range shifting plant species performs in soil from its original range in comparison with soil from the expansion range. Tragopogon dubius is currently expanding from southern into north-western Europe and we examined how this plant species responds to soil communities from its original and expansion ranges. We compared the performance of T. dubius with that of the closely related Tragopogon pratensis, which has a natural occurrence along the entire latitudinal gradient. Inoculation with the rhizosphere soil from T. dubius populations of the original range had a more negative effect on plant biomass production than inoculation with rhizosphere soil from the expansion range. Interestingly, the nonrange expander T. pratensis experienced a net negative soil effect throughout this entire range. The effects observed in this species pair may be due to release from soil born enemies or accumulation of beneficial soil born organisms. If this phenomenon applies broadly to other species, then range expansion may enable plants species to show enhanced performance.
Van Grunsven, R. H. A., Van der Putten, W. H., Bezemer, T. M., Berendse, F., & Veenendaal, E. M. (2010). Plant–soil interactions in the expansion and native range of a poleward shifting plant species. Global Change Biology, 16(1), 380-385. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01996.x