Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Mycorrhizal fungal identity and diversity relaxes plant–plant competition


Wagg, C; Jansa, J; Stadler, M; Schmid, B; van der Heijden, M G A (2011). Mycorrhizal fungal identity and diversity relaxes plant–plant competition. Ecology, 92(6):1303-1313.

Abstract

There is a great interest in ecology to understand the role of soil microbial diversity for plant productivity and coexistence. Recent research has shown increases in species richness of mutualistic soil fungi, the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), to be related to increases in aboveground productivity of plant communities. However, the impact of AMF richness on plant–plant interactions has not been determined. Moreover, it is unknown whether species-rich AMF communities can act as insurance to maintain productivity in a fluctuating environment (e.g. upon changing soil conditions). We tested the impact of four different AMF taxa and of AMF diversity (no AMF, single AMF taxa and all four together) on competitive interactions between the legume Trifolium pratense and the grass Lolium multiflorum grown under two different soil conditions, showing low and high sand contents. We hypothesized that more diverse mutualistic interactions (e.g. when four AMF taxa are present) can ease competitive effects between plants, increase plant growth and maintain plant productivity across different soil environments. We used quantitative PCR to verify that AMF taxa inoculated at the beginning of the experiment were still present at the end. The presence of AMF reduced the competitive inequality between the two plant species by reducing the growth suppression of the legume by the grass. High AMF richness enhanced the combined biomass production of the two plant species and the yield of the legume, particularly in the more productive soil with low sand content. In the less productive (high sand content) soil, the single most effective AMF had an equally beneficial effect on plant productivity as the mixture of four AMF. Since contributions of single AMF to plant productivity varied between soil conditions, higher AMF richness.

Abstract

There is a great interest in ecology to understand the role of soil microbial diversity for plant productivity and coexistence. Recent research has shown increases in species richness of mutualistic soil fungi, the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), to be related to increases in aboveground productivity of plant communities. However, the impact of AMF richness on plant–plant interactions has not been determined. Moreover, it is unknown whether species-rich AMF communities can act as insurance to maintain productivity in a fluctuating environment (e.g. upon changing soil conditions). We tested the impact of four different AMF taxa and of AMF diversity (no AMF, single AMF taxa and all four together) on competitive interactions between the legume Trifolium pratense and the grass Lolium multiflorum grown under two different soil conditions, showing low and high sand contents. We hypothesized that more diverse mutualistic interactions (e.g. when four AMF taxa are present) can ease competitive effects between plants, increase plant growth and maintain plant productivity across different soil environments. We used quantitative PCR to verify that AMF taxa inoculated at the beginning of the experiment were still present at the end. The presence of AMF reduced the competitive inequality between the two plant species by reducing the growth suppression of the legume by the grass. High AMF richness enhanced the combined biomass production of the two plant species and the yield of the legume, particularly in the more productive soil with low sand content. In the less productive (high sand content) soil, the single most effective AMF had an equally beneficial effect on plant productivity as the mixture of four AMF. Since contributions of single AMF to plant productivity varied between soil conditions, higher AMF richness.

Statistics

Citations

83 citations in Web of Science®
96 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

358 downloads since deposited on 21 Jul 2011
49 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:AMF richness; plant competition; symbioses; biodiversity effect; insurance effect; overyielding; quantitative PCR
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:21 Jul 2011 10:34
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:57
Publisher:Ecological Society of America
ISSN:0012-9658
Additional Information:Copyright by the Ecological Society of America
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1890/10-1915.1

Download

Preview Icon on Download
Preview
Content: Accepted Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 1MB
View at publisher
Preview Icon on Download
Preview
Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 1MB