Plant and Soil

, Volume 425, Issue 1–2, pp 363–374 | Cite as

Effects of Carpobrotus edulis invasion on main litter and soil characteristics in backdune and rocky coastal habitats with oceanic climate

  • Cristina Vieites-Blanco
  • Serafín J. González-Prieto
Regular Article


Background and aims

Carpobrotus edulis invades coastal areas throughout the world, decreasing plant diversity and hampering restoration efforts by changing soil properties. Some of its effects on soils are known but there is a knowledge gap about the effects in rocky areas and micronutrients that we aimed to fill for dunes and rocky habitats with temperate-humid climate.


We compared invaded vs non-invaded paired plots in two dune and two rocky areas by measuring 18 variables in litter and 24 in soils (0–5 and 5–10 cm layers).


Invasion effects increased with the accumulated alien necromass, decreased with soil depth and are substrate-dependent: soil pH, Al, Fe and P increased in dunes, while these variables and Mg, Cu and Zn decreased in rocky sites. Carpobrotus necromass is richer in Mg and Ca and poorer in Al, Co, Cu, Fe, Ni and Zn than native necromass.


Invader effects on soils are largely mediated by its necromass, which has contrasting characteristics with the autochthonous necromass. Carpobrotus edulis ability to discriminate against Al uptake, while favouring Mg and Ca uptake, and its lower requirement (or higher resorption) of key micronutrients (Co, Cu, Fe, Ni, Zn) than native vegetation could partly explain its invasiveness.


Alien plants Macronutrients Micronutrients Nitrogen Carbon Ecosystem engineer 



We thank Dr. Margarita Lema for field assistance and Leticia Bravo and Jorge Benítez for their technical assistance in the laboratory. The participation of Cristina Vieites-Blanco was supported by a pre-doctoral fellowship by Xunta de Galicia. The isotopic ratio mass spectrometer was partly financed by the European Regional Development Fund (EU).

Supplementary material

11104_2018_3598_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (127 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 126 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Investigaciones Agrobiológicas de Galicia, IIAG-CSICSantiago de CompostelaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Bioloxía FuncionalUniversidade de Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain

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