Publication: Latitudinal variation in soil nematode communities under climate warming‐related range‐expanding and native plants

Published on
July 28, 2019

Current climate change has led to latitudinal and altitudinal range expansions of numerous species. During such range expansions, plant species are expected to experience changes in interactions with other organisms, especially with belowground biota that have a limited dispersal capacity.

Nematodes form a key component of the belowground food web as they include bacterivores, fungivores, omnivores and root herbivores. However, their community composition under climate change‐driven intracontinental range‐expanding plants has been studied almost exclusively under controlled conditions, whereas little is known about actual patterns in the field. Here, we use novel molecular sequencing techniques combined with morphological quantification in order to examine nematode communities in the rhizospheres of four range‐expanding and four congeneric native species along a 2,000 km latitudinal gradient. In conclusion, not only range-expanding plant species, but also plant species that are native in the entire gradient show latitudinal variation in nematode community composition. Not all range-expanding plant species show release from native root-feeding nematodes in their novel habitats.