Ana Novoa1,2,3, Jan-Hendrik Keet4, Luís González5, Yaiza Lechuga-Lago5 and Johannes J. Le Roux2,4,6
1Department of Invasion Ecology, Institute of Botany, Czech Academy of Sciences, 252 43 Průhonice, Czech Republic
2Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, Matieland, South Africa
3Invasive Species Programme, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, Claremont, South Africa
4Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, Matieland, South Africa
5Laboratorio de investigación n21, Ecofisioloxía, Departamento de Bioloxía Vexetal e Ciencias do Solo, Edificio de Ciencias Experimentais, University of Vigo, Campus Universitario, As Lagoas Marcosende, Vigo, Pontevedra, Spain
6Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, 2109, Australia
Coastal dune areas are ecosystems of a high conservation and socioeconomic value and are strongly impacted by habitat destruction and biological invasions globally. Here, we assessed how human disturbance and invasion by Carpobrotus edulis affect these systems on the north-western coast of Spain, by comparing the soil characteristics (pH, conductivity, water content, nutrients and enzymatic activities), the diversity, structure and composition of the soil bacterial communities, and the fitness correlates of C. edulis and native plants (germination and early growth) between uninvaded and invaded soils from urban and natural coastal dune areas. We found that human disturbance impacts coastal dune areas by increasing the soil organic matter and water content, modifying soil nutrients and cycles, reducing the soil pH, increasing the diversity of the bacterial communities and affecting the establishment of the native plants in urban soils. The invasion of C. edulis further increases these impacts. These results show the dynamic and multiple dimensions of urbanization and invasive plant impacts in coastal dune areas.