How does an invasive Heracleum sosnowskyi affect soil nematode communities in natural conditions?

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We analysed the effect of the invasive perennial plant Heracleum sosnowskyi on soil nematode communities and diversity, and plant species composition, by comparing invaded and non-invaded (control) areas in natural conditions. Invasion of H. sosnowskyi caused significant shifts in plant species composition, which subsequently modified nematode assemblages. Stress-sensitive omnivores, fungivores and root-biomass-dependent obligate plant parasites best reflected changes in soil nematode communities under the influence of H. sosnowskyi invasion. The negative effect of H. sosnowskyi was most evident on Aphelenchus, Tylencholaimus, Geocenamus, Helicotylenchus, Pratylenchus, Tylenchorhynchus and Aporcelaimellus. Our results indicate that significant changes in the herbaceous layer after H. sosnowskyi invasion in ecosystems where H. sosnowskyi eventually became dominant impacted soil nematode communities but did not affect nematode diversity. This was in contrast to the habitats where a solitary plant of H. sosnowskyi grew and no significant changes in nematode communities were observed.

How does an invasive Heracleum sosnowskyi affect soil nematode communities in natural conditions?

in Nematology



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    Habitat type, location, area code and vegetation characteristic of study areas.

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    Mean total nematode abundance, number of genera, nematode feeding groups and functional guilds abundance associated with Heracleum sosnowskyi (Hs) invaded and control areas in four different habitats (non-cultivated line between agricultural fields, alluvial meadow, route edge, wet dump ground depression) in Poland.

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    Mean abundance (A) and dominance (D%) (n=4) of nematode genera associated with Heracleum sosnowskyi invaded and control areas in four different habitats.

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    Biplot based on symmetric co-correspondence analysis illustrating the nematode functional guilds (A) and main plant species (B) common on line between two fields and route edge habitats on Heracleum sosnowskyi invaded (INV) and non-invaded (CONT) areas, 26.44 and 32.05%, respectively, of the total variance of each data set. Correlation coefficients between nematode-derived and plant-derived site scores of the first three axes of symmetric correspondence canonical analysis (axis 1: 0.9124, λ1=0.264, P=0.00400, axis 2: 0.7888) and (axis 1: 0.9848, λ1=0.0318, P=0.00220, axis 2: 0.8154), respectively. Abbreviations used in panels B: ArhnElat = Arhenatherum elatius; ArtmCamp = Artemisia campestris; BromErec = Bromus erectus; DactGlom = Dactylis glomerata; ElymRepn = Elymus repens; EquiArvn = Equisetum arvense; ErigCand = Erigeon canadensis; HercSosn = Heracleum sosnowskyi; LamiPurp = Lamium purpureum; PotnRept = Potentilla reptans; SysmOfic – Sysimbrium officinale; TarxOffc – Taraxacum officinale; UrticDioi = Urtica dioica.

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    Biplot based on symmetric co-correspondence analysis illustrating the nematode functional guilds (A) and main plant species (B) common on alluvial meadow and ground depression habitats on Heracleum sosnowskyi invaded (INV) and non-invaded (CONT) areas, 39.85 and 5.5%, respectively, of the total variance of each data set. Correlation coefficients between nematode-derived and plant-derived site scores of the first three axes of symmetric correspondence canonical analysis (axis 1: 0.9478, λ1=0.397, P=0.03800, axis 2: 0.9212) and (axis 1: 0.9136, λ1=0.0004, P=0.89200, axis 2: 0.8396), respectively. Abbreviations used in panels B: ArtVulg = Artemisia vulgaris; EchnCrs = Echinachloa crus-galli; ErigAnns =Erigeon annus; HercSosno = Heracleum sosnowskyi; MatrIndr = Matricaria indora; SetrVird = Setaria viridis; UrtcDioi – Urtica dioica; GaliVerm = Galium verum; GalsSepi = Galystegia sepium; HercSosn = Heracleum sosnowskyi; IpomCarn = Ipomea carnea; LoliPern = Lolium perenne; PhrgAust = Phragmites australis; SoliSp = Solidago sp.; SysmOffc = Symphytum officinale; UrtcDioi = Urtica dioica.

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    Ordination of soil samples on the biplot resulting from the Redundancy analyses based on the nematode genera composition of the soil samples from plots invaded (circles) by Heracleum sosnowskyi (HS) and non-invaded (squares) plots (CO). (Wet dump ground depression 1-8; Line between agricultural fields 9-16; Route edge 17-24; Alluvial meadow 25-32.)

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    Nematode community structure and functional indices associated with Heracleum sosnowskyi-invaded and control areas in four different habitats.


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