Plant-soil networks under climate warming-induced range shifts and intercontinental invasions
Recent studies on climate warming show that many plant and animal species are able to shift range to previously colder areas. Successfully range-expanding plant species may experience enemy release, comparable to introduced exotic species. Here, we will propose how plant-soil networks may develop following plant introductions, and discuss possible similarities and differences between range shifting and introduced exotic plants.
In previous studies, we have shown that successfully range-shifting plant species may become released from their natural soil-borne enemies comparable to introduced exotics. However, from a full plant-soil network perspective such escape may also have drawbacks. For example, disconnection from symbiotic mutualists, decomposers, and third trophic level organisms may all have disadvantages for plant performance in the new range. Following plant introduction, soil organisms may become introduced as well, more likely in the case of range-shifting plants than intercontinental exotics. Further eco-evolutionary dynamics in the new range may lead to changes in plant-soil networks that will influence long-term patterns in plant abundance. We will provide first results from a novel interdisciplinary research project and discuss challenges for further studies on plant-soil networks in relation to climate warming and invasions.
Considering the long-term performance of range-shifting plant species and intercontinental exotics requires a plant-soil network approach that includes negative and positive interactions, as well as higher trophic level interactions.