Increased soil moisture aggravated the competitive effects of the invasive tree Rhus typhina on the native tree Cotinus coggygria
Invasive exotic species cause significant problems, and the effects of extreme precipitation and drought, which might occur more frequently under the global climate change scenarios, on interspecific relationship between invasive and native species remain unclear. Results: We conducted a greenhouse experiment with three soil water levels (30%-40%, 50%-60%, and 70%-80% of field capacity) and two cultivation treatments (monoculture pots, one seedling of either species and mixture pots, one
... re pots, one seedling of each species) to investigate soil water content effects on the relationship between invasive Rhus typhina and native Cotinus coggygria . Rhus typhina had lower height but bigger crown area than C. coggygria in the monoculture treatment. Rhus typhina had higher height, bigger crown area and total biomass than C. coggygria in the mixture treatment. Drought decreased the growth parameters, total chlorophyll concentration, and leaf biomass, but did not change gas exchange and other biomass parameters in R. typhina . The growth parameters, leaf area index, biomass parameters, total chlorophyll concentration, and net photosynthetic rate of C. coggygria decreased under drought conditions. The log response ratio (lnRR), calculated as ln (total biomass of a target plant grown in monoculture / total biomass of a target plant grown in mixed culture), of R. typhina was lower than that of C. coggygria . The lnRR of R. typhina and C. coggygria decreased and increased with increase in soil water content, respectively. Conclusions: Rhus typhina has greater capacity to relatively stable growth in the drought condition than C. coggygria and has strong competition advantages in the mixture with C. coggygria , especially in the drought condition. Our study will help understand the causes of invasiveness and wide distribution of R. typhina under various moisture conditions and predict its expansion under climate change scenarios.