Plant-fungus mutualism affects spider composition in successional fields

Ecology Letters
Laura K FinkesJennifer A Rudgers

Abstract

Mutualistic symbionts are widespread in plants and may have strong, bottom-up influences on community structure. Here we show that a grass-endophyte mutualism shifts the composition of a generalist predator assemblage. In replicated, successional fields we manipulated endophyte infection by Neotyphodium coenophialum in a dominant, non-native plant (Lolium arundinaceum). We compared the magnitude of the endophyte effect with manipulations of thatch biomass, a habitat feature of known importance to spiders. The richness of both spider families and morphospecies was greater in the absence of the endophyte, although total spider abundance was not affected. Thatch removal reduced both spider abundance and richness, and endophyte and thatch effects were largely additive. Spider families differed in responses, with declines in Linyphiidae and Thomisidae due to the endophyte and declines in Lycosidae due to thatch removal. Results demonstrate that the community impacts of non-native plants can depend on plants' mutualistic associates, such as fungal endophytes.

References

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Citations

Dec 11, 2008·Annual Review of Entomology·Sue E Hartley, Alan C Gange
Dec 21, 2011·Environmental Entomology·Stuart C Wooley, Timothy D Paine
Mar 4, 2008·The Journal of Animal Ecology·Simone A HärriChristine B Müller
Oct 17, 2006·Ecology Letters·Melanie J HatcherAlison M Dunn
Jan 28, 2009·The New Phytologist·Megan Saunders, Linda Myra Kohn
Jan 24, 2015·Trends in Parasitology·Alison M Dunn, Melanie J Hatcher
May 16, 2008·Ecology Letters·Jennifer A Rudgers, Keith Clay
Nov 26, 2019·Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society·Amy E ZanneKathleen K Treseder

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