The Nanshazhou of Xisha Xuande Islands is a tiny islet in the middle of South China Sea. (File photo: Xinhua)
BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Chinese researchers have discovered that the plant community showed higher sensitivity to plant invasions than the soil microbial and fauna communities on tropical coral islands.
Plant invasion is a major factor leading to the degradation of indigenous vegetation on tropical coral islands, where ecosystems are more fragile.
Compared with continents, island forest ecosystems have lower biodiversity and simpler biological community structures which can lead to larger-scale harm brought by plant invasions. The researchers from the South China Botanical Garden under the Chinese Academy of Sciences hoped to figure out an ecological indicator to make a comprehensive evaluation of the effects of plant invasions on tropical coral island forest ecosystems.
The researchers analyzed the effects of plant invasions above and below the ground communities and on the soil properties of forest ecosystems on tropical coral islands.
They found complicated and desynchronized effects of different plant invasions on the aboveground and belowground biotic communities.
The forest plant community was more sensitive to plant invasions than the soil microbial and soil fauna communities, said their research article recently published in the journal Ecological Indicators. Soil phosphorus also played an important role in plant invasions.