Plant soil feedback strength in relation to large-scale plant rarity and phylogenetic relatedness

Kempel, Anne; Rindisbacher, Abiel; Fischer, Markus; Allan, Eric (2018). Plant soil feedback strength in relation to large-scale plant rarity and phylogenetic relatedness. Ecology, 99(3), pp. 597-606. Ecological Society of America 10.1002/ecy.2145

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Understanding why some species are rare while others are common remains a central and fascinating question in ecology. Recently, interactions with soil organisms have been shown to affect local abundances of plant species within communities, however, it is not known whether they might also drive patterns of rarity at large scales. Further, little is known about the specificity of soil-feedback effects, and whether closely related plants share more soil pathogens than more distantly related plants. In a multi-species soil-feedback experiment (using 19 species) we tested whether regionally and locally rare species differed in their response to soil biota. Regional rarity was measured using range size or IUCN status and local rarity by typical abundance within an area. All species were grown on soils trained by a variety of regionally and locally rare and common species, which also varied in their degree of relatedness to the target. We found that, in general, regionally rare species suffered more than twice as much from soil biota than regionally common species. Soil cultured by regionally rare species also had a more negative effect on subsequent plant growth, suggesting they may have also accumulated more pathogens. Local rarity did not predict feedback strength. Further, soil trained by closely related plants had a more negative effect on growth than soil trained by distant relatives, which indicates a phylogenetic signal in the host range of soil biota. We conclude that soil biota may well contribute to plant rarity at large spatial scales, which offers a novel explanation for plant rarity and commonness. Moreover, our results show that phylogenetic relatedness between plants was a good predictor of the likelihood that two plant species interacted negatively via soil biota, which might mean that soil pathogens could prevent the coexistence of closely related plants and could drive patterns of phylogenetic overdispersion. Our results suggest that soil pathogens could restrict the ability of rare species to shift their ranges and might need to be considered by conservation biologists seeking to protect populations of rare plants.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Biodiversity

UniBE Contributor:

Kempel, Anne; Rindisbacher, Abiel; Fischer, Markus and Allan, Eric

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0012-9658

Publisher:

Ecological Society of America

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

02 May 2018 13:38

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 16:34

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/ecy.2145

Uncontrolled Keywords:

host range; local abundance; phylogenetic distance; plant commonness; regional rarity; soilpathogens; soil-feedback; spill-over

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.112392

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/112392

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