Allelopathic potentials of exotic invasive and native trees over coexisting understory species: the soil as modulator



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Medina-Villar, Silvia and Alonso, Álvaro and Castro Díez, Pilar and Pérez Corona, Esther (2017) Allelopathic potentials of exotic invasive and native trees over coexisting understory species: the soil as modulator. Plant Ecology, 218 (5). pp. 579-594. ISSN 1385-0237, ESSN: 1573-5052

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Ailanthus altissima and Robinia pseudoacacia are two aggressive exotic tree species invading riparian ecosystems in Central Spain. We explored their allelopathic potentials as a possible mechanism explaining their success in these ecosystems. Specifically, we aimed (1) to compare the phytotoxic effects of the exotic and native (Fraxinus angustifolia and Populus alba) trees on the fitness of several understory plants coexisting in riparian ecosystems, and (2) to assess the capacity of the riparian soil to modulate the phytotoxic effects. In laboratory bioassays, aqueous leaf litter extracts from the donor tree species at fieldrealistic concentrations were tested on different fitness indicators of 13 understory target species, using germination paper and soil as substrates in petri dishes. Using germination paper, we found speciesspecific effects between donor and target species, but the phytotoxicity of the exotic trees as a group was not greater than that of the natives. Nevertheless, the exotic R. pseudoacacia was the most effective donor species reducing the radicle growth of the target species. Over riparian soil substrate, the aqueous leaf litter extracts did not produce any phytotoxic effect on the target species, except in one case. Altogether, our results highlight the importance of using both a native control when assessing the phytotoxicity of nonnative plants and also the natural soil in the modulation of phytotoxic effects. Ignoring both factors in laboratory bioassays would have led to the overestimation of the phytotoxicity of the exotic species as a mechanism contributing to their invasion success.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Phytotoxicity, Impacts; Ailanthus altissima; Fraxinus angustifolia; Populus alba; Robinia pseudoacacia Int
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Botany
Medical sciences > Biology > Ecology
ID Code:44952
Deposited On:03 Oct 2017 10:34
Last Modified:05 Oct 2017 07:49

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