The impact of Carpobrotus cfr. acinaciformis (L.) L. Bolus on soil nutrients, microbial communities structure and native plant communities in Mediterranean ecosystems
- Authors: Badalamenti, E; Gristina, L; Laudicina, VA; Novara, A; Pasta, S; La Mantia, T
- Publication year: 2016
- Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
- OA Link: http://hdl.handle.net/10447/183920
Background and aims Carpobrotus spp. are amongst the most impactful and widespread plant invaders of Mediterranean habitats. Despite the negative ecological impacts on soil and vegetation that have been documented, information is still limited about the effect by Carpobrotus on soil microbial communities. We aimed to assess the changes in the floristic, soil and microbial parameters following the invasion by Carpobrotus cfr. acinaciformis within an insular Mediterranean ecosystem. Methods Within three study areas a paired-site approach, comparing an invaded vs. a non-invaded plot, was established. Within each plot biodiversity indexes, C and N soil content, pH and microbial biomass and structure (bacterial and fungal) were assessed. Results Invaded plots showed a decrease of α-species richness and diversity. The least represented plant species in invaded plots were those related to grassland habitats. In all invaded soils, a significant increase of carbon and nitrogen content and a significant decrease of pH were registered. Carpobrotus significantly increased bacterial and fungal biomass and altered soil microbial structure, particularly favoring fungal growth. Conclusions Carpobrotus may deeply impact edaphic properties and microbial communities and, in turn, these strong modifications probably increase its invasive potential and its ability to overcome native species, by preventing their natural regeneration.