Experimental evidence that invasive grasses use allelopathic biochemicals as a potential mechanism for invasion: chemical warfare in nature
- 857 Downloads
Background and aims
Bothriochloa spp. are non-native warm-season grasses invading native grasslands of the southern and central Great Plains, altering ecological services these grasslands supply. Our study investigated potential allelopathic effects of the invasive grass species B. ischaemum on native grass germination, growth, and survival.
Leachate or litter from Andropogon gerardii (native) or B. ischaemum were applied to two native grass species (A. gerardii; Schizachyrium scoparium). Leachate and litter were also added to B. ischaemum and a water control was included. Germination, above- and belowground biomass, and survival were determined.
Application of B. ischaemum leachate or litter significantly reduced the germination, growth, and survival of both A. gerardii and S. scoparium but had no conspecific effects, while A. gerardii treatments had no effect on any species.
Bothriochloa spp. may gain a competitive advantage through allelopathic biochemicals. It is unclear if these allelopathic effects directly hinder competitors or indirectly hinder them through alterations in soil microbial communities, however, reductions in germination of native seeds strongly support direct allelopathic effects. Greater phenolic content in native grass leachates suggest allelopathic biochemical production may not be unique to non-native species and may be a mechanism for maintenance of plant species biodiversity in native systems.
KeywordsAllelopathy Bothriochloa spp Invasive species Leachate Leaf litter Yellow bluestem
- D’Antonio CM, Vitousek PM (1992) Biological invasion by exotic grasses, the grass-fire cycle, and global change. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 23:63–87Google Scholar
- Devi SR, Pellissier F, Prasad MNV (1997) Allelochemicals. In: Prasad MNV (ed) Plant ecophysiology. Wiley, New York, pp 253–303Google Scholar
- Dirvi GA, Hussain F (1979) Allelopathic effects of Dichanthium annulatum (Forsk) Stapf on some cultivated plants. Pakistan J Sci Ind R 22:194–197Google Scholar
- Freund RJ, Wilson WJ (2003) Statistical methods, 2nd edn. Academic, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
- Gibson DJ (2002) Methods in comparative plant population ecology. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Greer MJ (2013) Grassland invasions by non-native grass species: ecological issues for multiple species at multiple trophic levels. Oklahoma State University, DissertationGoogle Scholar
- Harmoney KR, Hickman KR (2004) Comparing morphology of caucasian old world bluestem and native grass. Agon J 96:1540–1544Google Scholar
- Heywood VH (1989) Patterns, extents and modes of invasions by terrestrial plants. In: Drake JA, Mooney HA, di Castri F, Grovers RH, Kruger FJ, Rejmanek M, Williamson M (eds) Biological invasions: a global perspective. Wiley, Chichester, pp 31–60Google Scholar
- Hu G, Zhang ZH (2013b) Allelopathic effects of Chromolaena odorata on native and non-native herbs. J Food Agric Environ 11:878–882Google Scholar
- Jackman S (2012) pscl: Classes and Methods for R Developed in the Political Science Computational Laboratory, Stanford University. Department of Political Science, Stanford University. Stanford, California. R package version 1.04.4Google Scholar
- Jones M, Fleming SA (2010) Organic chemistry, 4th edn. Norton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Core Team R (2012) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
- Rice EL (1974) Allelopathy. Academic, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Rice EL (1984) Allelopathy 2nd edn. Academic, OrlandoGoogle Scholar
- Singleton VL, Rossi JA Jr (1965) Colorimetry of total phenolics with phosphomolybdic–phosphotungstic acid reagents. Am J Enol Viticult 16:144–158Google Scholar
- Soil Survey Staff, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture (2007) Web Soil Survey. http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/. Accessed 13 September 2013
- Uren NC (2007) Types, amounts, and possible functions of compounds released into rhizosphere by soil-grown plants. In: Pinton R, Varanini Z, Nannipieri P (eds) The rhizosphere: biochemistry and organic substances at the soil-plant interface, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 1–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar