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Exploring the symbiont diversity of ancient western redcedars: arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi of long-lived hosts

Gorzelak, M. A., Pickles, B. J. and Hart, M. M. (2017) Exploring the symbiont diversity of ancient western redcedars: arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi of long-lived hosts. Molecular Ecology, 26 (6). pp. 1586-1597. ISSN 0962-1083

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/mec.14023

Abstract/Summary

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are globally distributed, monophyletic root symbionts with ancient origins. Their contribution to carbon cycling and nutrient dynamics is ecologically important, given their obligate association with over 70% of vascular plant species. Current understanding of AMF species richness and community structure is based primarily on studies of grasses, herbs, and agricultural crops, typically in disturbed environments. Few studies have considered AMF interactions with long-lived woody perennial species in undisturbed ecosystems. Here we examined AMF communities associated with roots and soils of young, mature, and old western redcedar (Thuja plicata) at two sites in the old-growth temperate rainforests of British Columbia. Due to the unique biology of AMF, community richness and structure were assessed using a conservative, clade-based approach. We found 91 AMF OTUs across all samples, with significantly greater AMF richness in the southern site, but no differences in richness along the host chronosequence at either site. All host age classes harboured AMF communities that were overdispersed (more different to each other than expected by chance), with young tree communities most resembling old tree communities. A comparison with similar clade richness data obtained from the literature indicates that western redcedar AMF communities are as rich as those of grasses, tropical trees, and palms. Our examination of undisturbed temperate old growth rainforests suggests that priority effects, rather than succession, are an important aspect of AMF community assembly in this ecosystem.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:68653
Publisher:Wiley
Publisher Statement:"This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: 'Exploring the symbiont diversity of ancient western redcedars: arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi of long-lived hosts', which has been published in final form at [Link to final article using the DOI]. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving."

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