Litter decomposition and home-field advantage during plant range shifts

M. Manrubia Freixa, G.F. Veen, W.H. van der Putten

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The current climate warming enables many native plants to expand ranges to higher altitudes and latitudes. Plants develop in close interaction with soil organisms in a direct (e.g. via pathogenesis) and indirect way (e.g. via the detritus food web). During range shifts, these interactions might become temporally disrupted since soil organisms have limited dispersal capacity. Range-expanding plants might benefit from enemy release. However, they might also lose positive interactions with specialized decomposer organisms. The “home-field advantage” (HFA) hypothesis predicts that litter decomposes faster beneath the plant from which it originates than away from it due to the presence of specialized decomposer communities. Recent research provides evidence that plants have species-specific associations with decomposer communities. If decomposer microbes are indeed under selection of their host plants, range-expanding plants would possess different microbial decomposer communities than related native plants. How introduction of range-expanding plants will affect local decomposers and native plant communities in the new ranges is, however, an unanswered question. The present research aims to study local specialization by decomposers and HFA of plants that shift range along latitudinal gradients. We test the hypothesis that HFA is lost during range expansion, but that it may increase when time since introduction increases.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventThe First Global Soil Biodiversity Conference, Dijon, France -
Duration: 2 Dec 20145 Dec 2014


ConferenceThe First Global Soil Biodiversity Conference, Dijon, France

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