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The impact of dispersal, plant genotype and nematodes on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal colonization
- Rasmussen, Pil U., Chareesri, Anupol, Neilson, Roy, Bennett, Alison E., Tack, Ayco J.M.
- Soil biology & biochemistry 2019 v.132 pp. 28-35
- Nematoda, Plantago lanceolata, colonizing ability, community structure, fungal communities, genetic variation, genotype, hosts, mycorrhizal fungi, soil, symbionts, vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae
- While the majority of parasitic and mutualistic microbes have the potential for long-range dispersal, the high turnover in community composition among nearby hosts has often been interpreted to reflect dispersal constraints. To resolve this apparent contradiction, we need further insights into the relative importance of dispersal limitation, host genotype and the biotic environment on the colonization process. We focused on the important root symbionts, the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. We studied AM fungal colonization ability in a controlled mesocosm setting, where we placed Plantago lanceolata plants belonging to four different genotypes in sterile soil at 10, 30 and 70 cm from a central AM fungal inoculated P. lanceolata plant. In part of the mesocosms, we also inoculated the source plants with nematodes. AM fungi colonized receiver plants <1 m away over the course of ten weeks, with a strong effect of distance from source plant on AM fungal colonization. Plant genotype influenced AM fungal colonization during the early stages of colonization, while nematode inoculation had no effect on AM fungal colonization. Overall, the effect of both dispersal limitation and plant genetic variation may underlie the small-scale heterogeneity found in natural AM fungal communities.