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Data from: Soil mesofauna may buffer the negative effects of drought on alien plant invasion

Citation

Liu, Yanjie; Jin, Huifei; Chang, Liang; van Kleunen, Mark (2022), Data from: Soil mesofauna may buffer the negative effects of drought on alien plant invasion, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.tmpg4f50d

Abstract

Although many studies have tested the direct effects of drought on alien plant invasion, less is known about whether drought affects alien plant invasion indirectly via interactions of plants with other groups of organisms such as soil mesofauna.

To test for such indirect effects, we grew single plants of nine naturalized alien target species in pot-mesocosms with a community of five native grassland species under four combinations of two drought (well-watered vs drought) and two soil-mesofauna-inoculation (with vs without) treatments.

We found that drought decreased the absolute and the relative biomass production of the alien plants, and thus reduced their competitive strength in the native community. Drought also decreased the abundance of soil mesofauna, particularly soil mites, but did not affect the abundance and richness of soil herbivores. Soil-fauna inoculation did not affect biomass of the alien plants but increased biomass of the native plant community, and thereby decreased the relative biomass production of the alien plants. This increased invasion resistance due to soil fauna, however, tended (p = 0.09) to be stronger for plants growing under well-watered conditions than under drought.

Synthesis. Our multispecies experiment thus shows that soil fauna might help native communities to resist alien plant invasions, but that this effect might be weakened under drought. In other words, soil mesofauna may buffer the negative effects of drought on alien plant invasions.

Methods

All data were collected from a greenhouse expeirment at the Northeast Institute of Geography and Agricultural Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Usage Notes

The file archives 'SoilFauna_Drought_PlantInvasion_Date_YJL.tar' include three dataset, one named 'SoilFauna_Drought_PlantInvasion.csv' (Biomass data), one named 'SoilFaunaData.csv' (Soil Fauna data), and one named 'SoilNitrogenData.csv' (soil nitrogen data).

The file 'SoilFauna_Drought_PlantInvasion.Rmd' is the R script, and its output is 'SoilFauna_Drought_PlantInvasion.html'.

Funding