Mycorrhizal status helps explain invasion success of alien plant species
Mutualistic interactions between invasive alien plants and mycobiota, and their influence on invasion success have received increased attention in recent years. However, even with an increase in publications, data remains conflicting. Some studies show that invasive alien plants are more likely to have associated mycorrhizal fungi in one region compared to other studies showing the opposite. Such differences are replicated in the literature and hence there is an ongoing debate to whether alien plant species benefit from being mycorrhizal or if it constrains their establishment and spread. To evaluate if the relative frequency of different mycorrhizal status (obligate, facultative or non-mycorrhizal) differed between groups of neophytes, archaeophytes and native species, plant distribution data were obtained from the 2003 version of FLORKART database in Germany. Information on the mycorrhizal status of each species was collected from the MycoFlor database. Neophyte species at different stages of invasion showed no difference in mycorrhizal status. However, casual and naturalised neophytes were more likely to have an obligate mycorrhizal status compared to archaeophytes and native species. Neophytes with a facultative mycorrhizal status had a greater distribution than non-mycorrhizal neophytes, with the same seen with plants with an obligate mycorrhizal status, but to a lower effect. These results show that mycorrhizal status promotes invasion success in neophytes in Germany.
Menzel A, Hempel S, Klotz S, Moora M, Pyšek P, Rillig MC, Zobel M, Kühn I (2016) Mycorrhizal status helps explain invasion success of alien plant species. Ecology, DOI: 10.1002/ecy.1621