Belowground processes are rarely considered in comparison studies of native verses invasive species. We examined relationships between belowground fine root production and lifespan, leaf phenology, and seasonal nitrogen dynamics of Lonicera japonica (non-native) versus L. sempervirens (native) and Frangula alnus (non-native) versus Rhamnus alnifolia (native), over time. First and second order fine roots were monitored from 2010 to 2012 using minirhizotron technology and rhizotron windows. 15N uptake of fine roots was measured across spring and fall seasons. Significant differences in fine root production across seasons were seen between Lonicera species, but not between Frangula and Rhamnus, with both groups having notable asynchrony in regards to the timing of leaf production. Root order and the number of root neighbors at the time of root death were the strongest predictors of root lifespan of both species pairs. Seasonal 15N uptake was higher in spring than in the fall, which did not support the need for higher root activity to correspond with extended leaf phenology. We found higher spring 15N uptake in non-native L. japonica compared to native L. sempervirens, although there was no difference in 15N uptake between Frangula and Rhamnus species. Our findings indicate the potential for fast-growing nonnative Lonicera japonica and Frangula alnus to outcompete native counterparts through differences in biomass allocation, root turnover, and nitrogen uptake, however evidence that this is a general strategy of invader dominance is limited.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences