Reduced dependence on mycorrhizal fungi by invasive plant species.
Damm, Mary*,1, Bever, James1, 1 Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
ABSTRACT- Invasive plant species are a major threat to plant biodiversity. Introduced species are successful in new habitats due to traits of the species themselves and properties of the environment in which they invade. One of the species traits of successful introduced plants may be a lower dependence on mutualistic mycorrhizal fungi. We surveyed a Midwestern United States regional flora to examine patterns of the mycorrhizal status of native and introduced plant species in 5 habitats along a topographic soil moisture gradient. In the Plants of the Chicago Region, we find an overall trend that introduced species are more likely to belong to plant families that are characteristically non-mycorrhizal and that a greater proportion of introduced species are non-mycorrhizal in upland habitats. We suggest that increased disturbance in upland sites in the Chicago region has created new environments for non-mycorrhizal plants and as a result, reduced dependence on mycorrhizal fungi may be an important aspect of success of some of these introduced species.
Key words: mycorrhizal fungi, invasive species, Midwestern flora
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