Do sediment microbes control invasion success in marine ecosystems?
Invasive species impose major threats to biodiversity and have huge economic and ecological repercussions. Below ground processes under microbial control are important in shaping terrestrial plant communities (often referred to as plant-soil feedbacks), especially in the context invasive species interactions. Microbes are also important in marine ecosystem functioning (e.g. nutrient cycling) and can determine macrophyte biomass and fitness. Thus plant-soil feedbacks should also control interactions among marine macrophytes, although this has not been tested. I am investigating whether sediment microbial communities and other below ground factors influence invasive and native species in soft sediment habitats.
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