Fungal communities forming associations with plant roots have generally been described as ranging from symbiotic to parasitic. Disruptions to these associations consequently can have significant impacts on native plant communities. We examined how invasion by Vincetoxicum rossicum, a plant native to Europe, can alter both the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, as well as the general fungal communities associating with native plant roots in both field and woodland sites in Southern Ontario. In two different sites in the Greater Toronto Area, we took advantage of invasion by V. rossicum and neighbouring uninvaded sites to investigate the fungal communities associating with local plant roots, including goldenrod (Solidago spp.), wild red raspberry (Rubus idaeus), Canada anemone (Anemone canadensis), meadow rue (Thalictrum dioicum), and wild ginger (Asarum canadense). Fungi colonizing roots were characterized with terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis of amplified total fungal (TF) and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) ribosomal fragments. We saw a significant effect of the presence of this invader on the diversity of TF phylotypes colonizing native plant roots, and a composition shift of both the TF and AMF community in native roots in both sites. In native communities invaded by V. rossicum, a significant increase in richness and colonization density of TF suggests that invaders such as V. rossicum may be able to influence the composition of soil fungi available to natives, possibly via mechanisms such as increased carbon provision or antibiosis attributable to unique root exudates
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