Invasive species can strongly alter ecosystem functioning, but some ecosystems are more vulnerable to invasion that others This project aims to understand the key driving principles behind successful settlement of invasive species. It is thought that the microbial community and its reaction to disturbances play a crucial, but underexposed role in this. Field and lab experiments will be used to investigate the relationship between invasions, drought disturbances and the role of the microbial community. Using this approach should generate novel insights on how environmental change drives ecosystem functioning. The project is supported by a RUBICON award to Dr Maarten Schrama.