, Volume 174, Issue 2, pp 471–478 | Cite as

Radish introduction affects soil biota and has a positive impact on the growth of a native plant

Plant-microbe-animal interactions - Original research


Introduced plants may out-compete natives by belowground allelopathic effects on soil communities including the symbionts of native plants. We tested for an allelopathic effect of an introduced crucifer, Raphanus sativus, on a common neighboring legume, Lupinus nanus, on the legume’s rhizobium affiliates, and on the broader soil community. In both field observations and a greenhouse experiment, we found that R. sativus decreased the density of nodules on L. nanus roots. However, in the greenhouse experiment, R. sativus soils only decreased the density of small, likely non-beneficial rhizobium nodules. In the same experiment, R. sativus soils decreased fungivorous nematode abundance, though there was no effect of R. sativus introduction on fungal density. In the greenhouse experiment, R. sativus soils had a net positive effect on L. nanus biomass. One explanation of this effect is that R. sativus introduction might alter the mutualistic/parasitic relationship between L. nanus and its rhizobial associates with a net benefit to L. nanus. Our results suggest that introduced brassicas can quickly alter belowground communities, but that the net effect of this on neighboring plants is not necessarily negative.


Facilitation Allelopathy Indirect interaction Soil biota Belowground food web 



We would like to thank Jackie Sones and the Bodega Marine Reserve for help in the field as well as University of California, Davis greenhouse staff for greenhouse support. Rick Lankau provided useful discussion of allelopathy and brassicas at an early stage of this project. Ellen Simms, Stephanie Porter, and Allison Berry provided useful discussion on rhizobium-plant interactions. The manuscript was substantially improved after review by Rick Karban, Amanda Hodson, and Taraneh Emam. I. S. P. was funded by a National Science Foundation-Graduate Research Fellowship Program grant during the course of this study. The experiments comply with the current laws of the United States.

Supplementary material

442_2013_2779_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1306 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian S. Pearse
    • 1
    • 2
  • Justin L. Bastow
    • 3
  • Alia Tsang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of OrnithologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyEastern Washington UniversityCheneyUSA

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