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Facilitation promotes invasions in plant-associated microbial communities

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  • Zhong Wei
  • Mei Li
  • Jianing Wang
  • Alexandre Jousset
  • Ville-Petri Friman
  • Yangchun Xu
  • Qirong Shen
  • Thomas Pommier


Publication details

JournalEcology Letters
DateAccepted/In press - 8 Oct 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 20 Nov 2018
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jan 2019
Issue number1
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)149-158
Early online date20/11/18
Original languageEnglish


While several studies have established a positive correlation between community diversity and invasion resistance, it is less clear how species interactions within resident communities shape this process. Here we experimentally tested how antagonistic and facilitative pairwise interactions within resident model microbial communities predict invasion by the plant-pathogenic bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum. We found that facilitative resident community interactions promoted and antagonistic interactions suppressed invasions both in the lab and in the tomato plant rhizosphere.
Crucially, pairwise interactions could reliably explain observed invasions
outcomes also in multispecies communities, and mechanistically, this was
linked to direct inhibition of the invader by antagonistic communities (antibiosis), and to a lesser degree by resource competition between the members of the resident community and the invader. Together our findings suggest that the type and strength of pairwise interactions can reliably predict the outcome of invasions in more complex multispecies communities.

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© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

    Research areas

  • Antagonism, community ecology, facilitation, invasion resistance, microbe–microbe–plant interactions, rhizosphere

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