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Biological Invasions

, Volume 19, Issue 12, pp 3601–3611 | Cite as

Understanding the influence of urbanization on invasibility: Carpobrotus edulis as an exemplar

  • Yaiza Lechuga-Lago
  • Ana Novoa
  • Johannes J. Le Roux
  • Luís González
URBAN INVASIONS

Abstract

Coastal dune areas are valuable ecosystems, generally impacted by habitat destruction and invasive alien species. In this study, we assessed how human disturbance and invasion by Carpobrotus edulis impact the soils and the establishment of native flora in the north-western coastal regions of Spain. We compared soil characteristics (pH, conductivity, water content, nutrients and enzymatic activities) and native plant as well as C. edulis fitness correlates (germination and early growth) between uninvaded and invaded soils from urban and natural coastal dune areas. We found that human disturbance impacts coastal soils by increasing organic matter and water content, modifying soil nutrients and cycles, and reducing the pH in urban soils. The presence of invasive C. edulis further increases these impacts. These changes in soil characteristics allow for the establishment of the native, but ruderal, Scolymus hispanicus and non-native C. edulis, both of which are not adapted to the typically limiting conditions of coastal dunes. In some instances, the coastal dune endemic, Malcolmia littorea, showed no fitness effects in response to urbanization or the presence of C. edulis. These results suggest that human disturbed coastal areas might be more easily invaded than natural areas. More broadly, our findings of differential responses of different native species to disturbance and invasion, illustrate the need for multi-taxon approaches when assessing the impacts of invasive species.

Keywords

Enzymatic activities Ecological impacts Germination Invasive species Nutrients Urban areas 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was carried out within the frame of the project ‘‘Retos en la gestión de la planta invasora C. edulis. Variabilidad fenotípica y cambios en la relación suelo-planta durante el proceso de invasión’’ (in Spanish), reference CGL2013-48885-C2-1-R, founded by the Ministry of Economy and Competence (Spanish Government). A.N. and J.J.L.R. acknowledge funding from Stellenbosch University’s DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology. JLR acknowledges funding from South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF Grant No. 91117). AN acknowledge funding from the Working for Water Programme of the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, through the South African National Biodiversity Institute Invasive Species Programme and from Centre of Excellence PLADIAS (Czech Science Foundation Project No. 14-36079G) and the long-term research development project (The Czech Academy of Sciences, Project No. RVO 67985939).We also thank Alejandra Guisande Collazo, Alba Ferreiro Martinez for assistance and Flora Alonso Vega and Manoel Lago Vila for valuable insights provided on the extraction of soil nutrients.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yaiza Lechuga-Lago
    • 1
  • Ana Novoa
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Johannes J. Le Roux
    • 2
  • Luís González
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratorio de investigación nº 21, Ecofisioloxia, Departamento de Bioloxía Vexetal e Ciencias do Solo, Edificio de Ciencias ExperimentaisUniversity of VigoVigo, PontevedraSpain
  2. 2.Department of Botany and Zoology, Centre for Invasion BiologyStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa
  3. 3.Invasive Species Programme, South African National Biodiversity InstituteKirstenbosch Research CentreClaremontSouth Africa
  4. 4.Department of Invasion Ecology, Institute of BotanyThe Czech Academy of SciencesPrůhoniceCzech Republic

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