A survey of invasive plants on grassland soil microbial communities and ecosystem services
Invasive plants can cause changes in the structure and function of the ecosystem being invaded. Any changes in ecosystem diversity and community composition will likely alter ecosystem services provided by that ecosystem. However, how these ecosystem services may change is poorly understood. To elucidate how these ecosystem services will change with invasion, we sampled 561 plots undergoing invasion by smooth brome (Bromus inermis) and four other invasive species at a native Rough Fescue prairie located near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Soil and plant surveys were undertaken weekly for 26 weeks between May of 2014 and November of 2014, or the growing season. We measured a suite of ecosystem services, including greenhouse gasses, extracellular enzyme function, forage production, glyphosate degradation and decomposition. Furthermore, soil physical and chemical properties were measured, and soil bacterial and fungal communities were sequenced. This is a large and multifaceted dataset with complex temporal and spatial attributes which can be used to answer numerous questions regarding the functioning of prairie ecosystems and how invasive species will impact that functioning.
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