Top-down control of root-feeding nematodes in range-expanding and congeneric native plant species

Maria Viketoft, Wim H. van der Putten

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Abstract

Abstract Climate warming may result in range expansion of species towards previously colder environments, and it has been demonstrated that in the new range successfully range-expanding plant species can be less attacked by aboveground and belowground enemies than congeneric natives. Plant enemies may be controlled naturally by complex bottom-up and top-down interactions with their hosts, however, little is known about how these interactions may operate in the new range. Here, we examine how root-feeding nematodes are controlled in the root zone of successfully range-expanding plant species in comparison with congeneric plant species native to the new range. As range-expanding plant species can have less negative soil feedback than congeneric natives, we tested the hypothesis that top-down control of root-feeding nematodes may be strongest on range-expanding plant species. To test this, we grew 4 pairs of range-expanding plant species and their native congeners in field soil, to which we added soil microbes, nematodes, or microarthropods from the new habitat. Addition of soil microorganisms and microarthropods reduced the numbers of root-feeding nematodes, being strongest when microorganisms were added. Opposite to our expectation, nematode control was not more effective in the root zone of range-expanding than native plant species. We conclude that top-down control of root-feeding nematodes is highly plant species-specific and that top-down control of these nematodes in the root zone of range-expanding plant species can be as effective as in the root zone of congeneric natives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-268
JournalBasic and Applied Ecology
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Belowground
  • Indirect defense
  • Invasive plants
  • Meloidogyne chitwoodi
  • Multitrophic interactions
  • Plant-soil interaction.
  • NIOO

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