Feedback with soil biota contributes to plant rarity and invasiveness in communities

  title={Feedback with soil biota contributes to plant rarity and invasiveness in communities},
  author={John Klironomos},
Understanding the relative abundance of species in plant communities is an unsolved problem. Mechanisms such as competition, resource partitioning, dispersal ability and predation tolerance do not adequately explain relative abundance under field conditions. Recent work suggests that interactions between plants and soil microbes is important. Here I show that such interaction explains a significant proportion of the variance in the relative abundance of species in plant communities. Rare plants… 

Organization of genetic variation in individuals of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

Invasive plants are an economic problem and a threat to the conservation of natural systems. Escape from natural enemies might contribute to successful invasion, with most work emphasizing the role

Functional shifts of soil microbial communities associated with Alliaria petiolata invasion

No changes in the diversity and abundance of AMF in plants co-occurring with A. petiolata are found, suggesting that mycorrhizal suppression in the field may not be as critical to the invasion of A. Petiolata as implied by more controlled experiments, and changes in pathogen community composition are found.

Prairie plants harbor distinct and beneficial root-endophytic bacterial communities

A connection between an understudied component of the root-endophytic microbiome and plant performance is suggested, which may have important implications in understanding plant community composition and coexistence.

Soil microbial communities influence seedling growth of a rare conifer independent of plant-soil feedback.

Investigation of the functional effect of species-specific differences previously observed in the microbial communities underneath adult Wollemi pine and a neighboring species found no evidence for seedling growth being affected by tree species associated with soil inocula, suggesting that plant-soil feedbacks are not limiting recruitment in the natural population.

Abiotic and Biotic Drivers of Plant Range Shifts in the Alpine

It is increasingly recognized that species distributions are driven by both abiotic factors and biotic interactions. Despite much recent work incorporating competition, predation, and mutualism into

Plant-soil feedbacks and mycorrhizal type influence temperate forest population dynamics

A large-scale study of North American trees reveals how different soil-associated fungi can either help or hinder tree growth, and suggests mycorrhizal type could be an important contributor to population regulation and community structure in temperate forests.

Mutualist and pathogen traits interact to affect plant community structure in a spatially explicit model

A spatially explicit dynamic model is presented that separates the effects of microbial mutualists and pathogens, thereby presenting a testable mechanistic framework to reconcile previously puzzling observations of the strength and direction of PSF with diversity maintenance.

Negative plant-soil feedbacks increase with plant abundance, and are unchanged by competition.

The results suggest that abundant plants accrue species-specific soil pathogens to a greater extent than rare species, and negative feedbacks may be critical for preventing abundant species from becoming even more abundant thanRare species.

Phylogeny and provenance affect plant-soil feedbacks in invaded California grasslands.

Investigating the effects of soil biota from experimentally established native and invaded California grassland communities on resource capture and allocation of three native and three exotic grass species, comprising three tribes, grown in the laboratory found phylogeny was the single greatest determinant of grass biomass, root:shoot ratio, and growth rate.

Host-specific effects of soil microbial filtrates prevail over those of arbuscular mycorrhizae in a fragmented landscape.

It is suggested that pastures accumulate species-specific soil enemies, while coffee plantations and forests accumulate beneficial soil microbes that benefit pioneer native plants and coffee, respectively.



Mycorrhizal fungal diversity determines plant biodiversity, ecosystem variability and productivity

It is shown that below-ground diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) is a major factor contributing to the maintenance of plant biodiversity and to ecosystem functioning, and that microbial interactions can drive ecosystem functions such as plant biodiversity, productivity and variability.

Feeback between Plants and Their Soil Communities in an Old Field Community

Similar although less pronounced patterns were observed in experiments using inocula consisting of washed live root segments as compared to experiments using whole soil as inoculum, suggesting that root pathogens are one important agent.

Soil pathogens and spatial patterns of seedling mortality in a temperate tree

This work shows that a soil pathogen leads to patterns of seedling mortality in a temperate tree (Prunus serotina) as predicted by the Janzen–Connell hypothesis, and suggests that similar ecological mechanisms operate in tropical and temperate forests.


The results of these experiments suggest that the accumulation of species-specific soil pathogens could account for the previous observation of negative feedback on plant growth through changes in the soil community.

Small-scale shifting mosaics of two dominant grassland species: the possible role of soil-borne pathogens

It is concluded that soil-borne pathogens may contribute to plant diversity and spatial mosaics of plants in grasslands, and that soil disturbances by digging ants and rabbits may explain the small-scale variation in nematode densities.

Plant-specific soil-borne diseases contribute to succession in foredune vegetation

It is reported here that soil-borne diseases may contribute to the succession of foredune plant species and the different sensitivities of plant species for the soil-bourne pathogens could be an evolutionary response to selection pressures of the succession stage.


Using a simple experimental protocol, substantial negative feedback on plant growth is found through the soil community, suggesting that it may be involved in the maintenance of plant species diversity.

Relationship between species relative abundance and plant traits for an infertile habitat

  • R. Reader
  • Environmental Science
    Plant Ecology
  • 2004
This study tested whether differences in species abundance at an infertile site could be explained by differences in the species' plant traits, and indicated that species relative abundance can be explained for a single habitat by choosing traits found to be related to species abundance in previous gradient studies.

Interactions between above‐ and belowground biota: importance for small‐scale vegetation mosaics in a grassland ecosystem

It is suggested that various direct and indirect interactions between above- and belowground biota can contribute to community mosaics and hence diversity in grasslands.

The Persistence of Rare Prairie Grasses in Missouri: Environmental Variation Buffered by Reproductive Output of Sparse Species

Over a 9-yr study, four sparse species of prairie grasses in Missouri showed lower variation in culm production and seed set and were less likely to show reproductive failure than were common grasses of the same habitat.