Melilotus officinalis (yellow sweetclover) causes large changes in community and ecosystem processes in both the presence and absence of a cover crop

Timothy L Dickson, Brian J. Wilsey, Ryan R. Busby, Dick L. Gebhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Non-native species are hypothesized to decrease native species establishment and cover crops are hypothesized to decrease non-native species abundance. Although many studies have compared invaded to non-invaded habitats, relatively few studies have experimentally added non-native species to directly examine their effects. In a greenhouse mesocosm experiment, we tested the effects of non-native forbs (Melilotus officinalis, Verbascum thapsus, and Lespedeza cuneata), a proposed C3 grass cover crop (Pascopyrum smithii), and a commonly seeded non-native C3 grass (Bromus inermis) on the establishment of target native C4 prairie grass species. All treatments contained the same seed density of target C4 species and were begun on bare soil collected from the field. The legume M. officinalis strongly decreased the abundance of all other species, species diversity, and light and soil moisture levels. Surprisingly, M. officinalis took up relatively large amounts of labeled nitrogen (15N) from the soil early in its development, but M. officinalis fixed nitrogen, thus increasing nitrogen in biomass nearly fivefold by the end of the study. We found few effects of either C3 grass species on non-native forbs or C4 target species, but seeded P. smithii did increase species diversity. Non-native plants therefore impeded native C4 grass establishment through long-lasting effects of target species seedbank depletion (death of most target seedlings) and altered nutrient availability. The effects of M. officinalis were not reduced by the presence of a cover crop.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-76
Number of pages12
JournalBiological Invasions
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Fingerprint

Melilotus officinalis
cover crop
cover crops
grasses
ecosystems
ecosystem
Pascopyrum smithii
forbs
grass
nitrogen
Verbascum thapsus
Lespedeza cuneata
Bromus inermis
species diversity
C4 plants
buried seeds
greenhouse experimentation
prairies
nutrient availability
early development

Keywords

  • Community restoration
  • Ecological bridge species
  • Ecosystem functioning
  • Exotic legume
  • Invasive species
  • Nitrogen isotope (N)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Cite this

Melilotus officinalis (yellow sweetclover) causes large changes in community and ecosystem processes in both the presence and absence of a cover crop. / Dickson, Timothy L; Wilsey, Brian J.; Busby, Ryan R.; Gebhart, Dick L.

In: Biological Invasions, Vol. 12, No. 1, 01.01.2010, p. 65-76.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{af0c165d246c44e1bd9579df3285b809,
title = "Melilotus officinalis (yellow sweetclover) causes large changes in community and ecosystem processes in both the presence and absence of a cover crop",
abstract = "Non-native species are hypothesized to decrease native species establishment and cover crops are hypothesized to decrease non-native species abundance. Although many studies have compared invaded to non-invaded habitats, relatively few studies have experimentally added non-native species to directly examine their effects. In a greenhouse mesocosm experiment, we tested the effects of non-native forbs (Melilotus officinalis, Verbascum thapsus, and Lespedeza cuneata), a proposed C3 grass cover crop (Pascopyrum smithii), and a commonly seeded non-native C3 grass (Bromus inermis) on the establishment of target native C4 prairie grass species. All treatments contained the same seed density of target C4 species and were begun on bare soil collected from the field. The legume M. officinalis strongly decreased the abundance of all other species, species diversity, and light and soil moisture levels. Surprisingly, M. officinalis took up relatively large amounts of labeled nitrogen (15N) from the soil early in its development, but M. officinalis fixed nitrogen, thus increasing nitrogen in biomass nearly fivefold by the end of the study. We found few effects of either C3 grass species on non-native forbs or C4 target species, but seeded P. smithii did increase species diversity. Non-native plants therefore impeded native C4 grass establishment through long-lasting effects of target species seedbank depletion (death of most target seedlings) and altered nutrient availability. The effects of M. officinalis were not reduced by the presence of a cover crop.",
keywords = "Community restoration, Ecological bridge species, Ecosystem functioning, Exotic legume, Invasive species, Nitrogen isotope (N)",
author = "Dickson, {Timothy L} and Wilsey, {Brian J.} and Busby, {Ryan R.} and Gebhart, {Dick L.}",
year = "2010",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1007/s10530-009-9430-7",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "12",
pages = "65--76",
journal = "Biological Invasions",
issn = "1387-3547",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Melilotus officinalis (yellow sweetclover) causes large changes in community and ecosystem processes in both the presence and absence of a cover crop

AU - Dickson, Timothy L

AU - Wilsey, Brian J.

AU - Busby, Ryan R.

AU - Gebhart, Dick L.

PY - 2010/1/1

Y1 - 2010/1/1

N2 - Non-native species are hypothesized to decrease native species establishment and cover crops are hypothesized to decrease non-native species abundance. Although many studies have compared invaded to non-invaded habitats, relatively few studies have experimentally added non-native species to directly examine their effects. In a greenhouse mesocosm experiment, we tested the effects of non-native forbs (Melilotus officinalis, Verbascum thapsus, and Lespedeza cuneata), a proposed C3 grass cover crop (Pascopyrum smithii), and a commonly seeded non-native C3 grass (Bromus inermis) on the establishment of target native C4 prairie grass species. All treatments contained the same seed density of target C4 species and were begun on bare soil collected from the field. The legume M. officinalis strongly decreased the abundance of all other species, species diversity, and light and soil moisture levels. Surprisingly, M. officinalis took up relatively large amounts of labeled nitrogen (15N) from the soil early in its development, but M. officinalis fixed nitrogen, thus increasing nitrogen in biomass nearly fivefold by the end of the study. We found few effects of either C3 grass species on non-native forbs or C4 target species, but seeded P. smithii did increase species diversity. Non-native plants therefore impeded native C4 grass establishment through long-lasting effects of target species seedbank depletion (death of most target seedlings) and altered nutrient availability. The effects of M. officinalis were not reduced by the presence of a cover crop.

AB - Non-native species are hypothesized to decrease native species establishment and cover crops are hypothesized to decrease non-native species abundance. Although many studies have compared invaded to non-invaded habitats, relatively few studies have experimentally added non-native species to directly examine their effects. In a greenhouse mesocosm experiment, we tested the effects of non-native forbs (Melilotus officinalis, Verbascum thapsus, and Lespedeza cuneata), a proposed C3 grass cover crop (Pascopyrum smithii), and a commonly seeded non-native C3 grass (Bromus inermis) on the establishment of target native C4 prairie grass species. All treatments contained the same seed density of target C4 species and were begun on bare soil collected from the field. The legume M. officinalis strongly decreased the abundance of all other species, species diversity, and light and soil moisture levels. Surprisingly, M. officinalis took up relatively large amounts of labeled nitrogen (15N) from the soil early in its development, but M. officinalis fixed nitrogen, thus increasing nitrogen in biomass nearly fivefold by the end of the study. We found few effects of either C3 grass species on non-native forbs or C4 target species, but seeded P. smithii did increase species diversity. Non-native plants therefore impeded native C4 grass establishment through long-lasting effects of target species seedbank depletion (death of most target seedlings) and altered nutrient availability. The effects of M. officinalis were not reduced by the presence of a cover crop.

KW - Community restoration

KW - Ecological bridge species

KW - Ecosystem functioning

KW - Exotic legume

KW - Invasive species

KW - Nitrogen isotope (N)

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=72149107581&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=72149107581&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s10530-009-9430-7

DO - 10.1007/s10530-009-9430-7

M3 - Article

VL - 12

SP - 65

EP - 76

JO - Biological Invasions

JF - Biological Invasions

SN - 1387-3547

IS - 1

ER -