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Effects of mowing on fungal endophytes and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in subalpine grasslands

Binet, M.N., Sage, L., Malan, C., Clément, J.C., Redecker, D., Wipf, D., Geremia, R.A., Lavorel, S., Mouhamadou, B.
Fungal ecology 2013 v.6 no.4 pp. 248-255
Allium porrum, Festuca, Neotyphodium, Trifolium pratense, ecosystems, endophytes, grassland soils, grasslands, greenhouse experimentation, host plants, leaves, mowing, mycorrhizal fungi, plant communities, symbionts
In French subalpine grasslands, cessation of mowing promotes dominance of Festuca paniculata, which alters plant diversity and ecosystem functioning. One of the mechanisms underpinning such effects may be linked to simultaneous changes in the abundance of fungal symbionts such as endophytes and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. In field conditions, mowing reduced the abundance of the endophyte Neotyphodium sp. in leaves of F. paniculata by a factor of 6, and increased mycorrhizal densities by a factor of 15 in the soil. In greenhouse experiments, the mycorrhizal colonization of Trifolium pratense and Allium porrum increased 3- fold and 3.8- fold respectively in mown vs unmown grassland soil. Significantly reduced growth of the two host plants was also observed on soil from the unmown grassland. Such opposite effects of mowing on the two functional groups of fungal symbionts could suggest interactions between these two groups, which in turn could contribute to structuring plant communities in subalpine grasslands.