Role and influence of soil microbial communities on plant invasion

Koshila Ravi Ravichandran, Muthukumar Thangavelu



It is known that plant invasions are of major concern as they result in loss of biodiversity and alterations in ecosystem processes and functions. Although numerous mechanisms have been postulated to find out the reasons behind plant invasiveness, the actual and precise mechanism is still obscure. Soil microbes are considered as one of the important determinants of plant growth and establishment. Plant invasion leads to changes in the composition and structure of soil microorganisms. Most of the earlier studies have focused on the aboveground mechanisms of plant invasion. Recently the belowground mechanisms for plant invasion are being investigated. In this review, we focus on the various hypotheses related to soil microbes in either enhancing or suppressing plant invasions. The interactions between soil microbes with native and non-native plant species, the role of the plant-soil feedback system in the invasion and its impact, the function of mycorrhizal and bacterial symbiosis in plant species invasion and the role of soil biota and changes brought about in soil nutrient cycling and soil enzymes due to plant invasion are also discussed.


soil microorganisms; invasive plant; plant-soil feedback; mycorrhizal fungi; soil enzymes; soil nutrients

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