Human modification of the environment is causing both loss of species and changes in resource availability. While studies have examined how species loss at the local level can influence invasion resistance, interactions between species loss and other components of environmental change remain poorly studied. In particular, the manner in which native diversity interacts with resource availability to influence invasion resistance is not well understood. We created experimental plant assemblages that varied in native species (1–16 species) and/or functional richness (defined by rooting morphology and phenology; one to five functional groups). We crossed these diversity treatments with resource (water) addition to determine their interactive effects on invasion resistance to spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa), a potent exotic invader in the intermountain West of the United States. We also determined how native diversity and resource addition influenced plant-available soil nitrogen, soil moisture, and light. Assemblages with lower species and functional diversity were more heavily invaded than assemblages with greater species and functional diversity. In uninvaded assemblages, experimental addition of water increased soil moisture and plant-available nitrogen and decreased light availability. The availability of these resources generally declined with increasing native plant diversity. Although water addition increased susceptibility to invasion, it did not fundamentally change the negative relationship between diversity and invasibility. Thus, native diversity provided strong invasion resistance even under high resource availability. These results suggest that the effects of local diversity can remain robust despite enhanced resource levels that are predicted under scenarios of global change.
Copyright 2007 by the Ecological Society of America. John Maron and Marilyn Marler 2007. NATIVE PLANT DIVERSITY RESISTS INVASION AT BOTH LOW AND HIGH RESOURCE LEVELS. Ecology 88:2651–2661. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/06-1993.1.