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Conspecific leaf litter induces negative feedbacks in Asteraceae seedlings


Zaret, Max; Whitaker, Briana (2021), Conspecific leaf litter induces negative feedbacks in Asteraceae seedlings, Dryad, Dataset,


The plant soil feedback (PSF) framework has been instrumental in quantifying soil microbial impacts on plant fitness and mechanisms for species coexistence. The recent extension of the PSF framework to microbes associated with aboveground tissues of plants, termed here as plant phyllosphere feedbacks (PPFs), can also help determine the role of aboveground microbes as drivers of plant-plant interactions. However, experimental tests of PPFs in wild hosts is nascent and their prevalence across diverse hosts remains largely unknown. Additionally, the relationship between plant host characteristics, such as functional traits and evolutionary history, with PPFs is unclear, in contrast to a substantial body of PSF literature. To test for the prevalence and mechanisms driving PPFs across diverse hosts, plant litter from ten Asteraceae species spanning slow to fast life history strategies was used to inoculate con- and heterospecific seedlings in a full factorial experimental design. We found that four species experienced significant negative PPFs and three experienced marginally significant negative feedbacks, while the feedback estimates for all ten species were negative. However, neither plant functional traits, nor phylogenetic distance were predictive of PPFs among species pairs, suggesting that other mechanisms or traits not measured may be driving these negative PPFs. Our results indicate that negative PPFs are common among native Asteraceae species and that they may have substantial impacts on plant growth and plant-plant interactions, particularly during early plant development.