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Above- and belowground interactions in Jacobaea vulgaris: zooming in and zooming out from a plant-soil feedback perspective

In this thesis, I focused on studying the above- and belowground interactions of J. vulgaris from a plant-soil feedback (hereafter, PSF) perspective. I investigated the temporal variation of negative PSF and examined the effects of root-associated bacteria on plant performance and aboveground herbivores.

X. Liu
15 May 2024
Thesis in Leiden Repository

Additionally,  I tested the role of PSF in relation to plant population structure and the significance of soil legacy effects in natural conditions. The findings reveal that temporal dynamics in PSF are driven by changes in plant sensitivity and in the soil microbiome. Although bacteria isolated from J. vulgaris roots can negatively affect plant performance, they can also affect aboveground herbivores and other plant species. Consequently, these bacteria may not be suitable for biological control of J. vulgaris. Moreover, I discovered that soil nematodes can mediate plant-plant interactions, but often favoring J. vulgaris. In my field work, I detected soil legacy effects, but seedling recruitment spatial patterns of J. vulgaris were not soil-mediated. The insights gained from studying PSF and above- and belowground interactions have the potential to reshape traditional approaches employed in controlling invasive plants. This thesis emphasizes the importance of transitioning PSF experiments from indoor to outdoor settings considering various influencing factors simultaneously.

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