Release from soil pathogens plays an important role in the success of invasive Carpobrotus in the Mediterranean

R.H.A. van Grunsven, F. Bos, B.S. Ripley, C.M. Suehs, E.M. Veenendaal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduced plant species can become locally dominant and threaten native flora and fauna. This dominance is often thought to be a result of release from specialist enemies in the invaded range, or the evolution of increased competitive ability. Soil borne microorganisms have often been overlooked as enemies in this context, but a less deleterious plant soil interaction in the invaded range could explain local dominance. Two plant species, Carpobrotus edulis and the hybrid Carpobrotus X cf. acinaciformis, are considered major pests in the Mediterranean basin. We tested if release from soil-borne enemies and/or evolution of increased competitive ability could explain this dominance. Comparing biomass production in non-sterile soil with that in sterilized soil, we found that inoculation with rhizosphere soil from the native range reduced biomass production by 32% while inoculation with rhizosphere soil from the invaded range did not have a significant effect on plant biomass. Genotypes from the invaded range, including a hybrid, did not perform better than plants from the native range in sterile soil. Hence evolution of increased competitive ability and hybridization do not seem to play a major role. We conclude that the reduced negative net impact of the soil community in the invaded range may contribute to the success of Carpobrotus species in the Mediterranean basin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-175
JournalSouth African Journal of Botany
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • aizoaceae taxa
  • enemy release
  • hybrid vigor
  • plants
  • evolution
  • hybridization
  • communities
  • hypothesis
  • contribute
  • california

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