Species-specific effects of polyploidisation and plant traits of Centaurea maculosa and Senecio inaequidens on rhizosphere microorganisms
Invasive plant species represent a threat to terrestrial ecosystems, but their effects on the soil biota and the mechanisms involved are not yet well understood. Many invasive species have undergone polyploidisation, leading to the coexistence of various cytotypes in the native range, whereas, in most cases, only one cytotype is present in the introduced range. Since genetic variation within a species can modify soil rhizosphere communities, we studied the effects of different cytotypes and ranges (native diploid, native tetraploid and introduced tetraploid) of Centaurea maculosa and Senecio inaequidens on microbial biomass carbon, rhizosphere total DNA content and bacterial communities of a standard soil in relation to plant functional traits. There was no overall significant difference in microbial biomass between cytotypes. The variation of rhizosphere total DNA content and bacterial community structure according to cytotype was species- specific. The rhizosphere DNA content of S. inaequidens decreased with polyploidisation in the native range but did not vary for C. maculosa. In contrast, the bacterial community structure of C. maculosa was affected by polyploidisation and its diversity increased, whereas there was no significant change for S. inaequidens. Traits of S. inaequidens were correlated to the rhizosphere biota. Bacterial diversity and total DNA content were positively correlated with resource allocation to belowground growth and late flowering, whereas microbial biomass carbon was negatively correlated to investment in reproduction. There were no correlations between traits of the cytotypes of C. maculosa and corresponding rhizosphere soil biota. This study shows that polyploidisation may affect rhizosphere bacterial community composition, but that effects vary among plant species. Such changes may contribute to the success of invasive polyploid genotypes in the introduced range.