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Spatial structuring of arbuscular mycorrhizal communities in benchmark and modified temperate eucalypt woodlands

Prober, S. M., Bissett, A., Walker, C., Wiehl, G., McIntyre, S. and Tibbett, M. (2015) Spatial structuring of arbuscular mycorrhizal communities in benchmark and modified temperate eucalypt woodlands. Mycorrhiza, 25 (1). pp. 41-54. ISSN 0940-6360

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s00572-014-0587-2


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are crucial to the functioning of the plant–soil system, but little is known about the spatial structuring of AMF communities across landscapes modified by agriculture. AMF community composition was characterized across four sites in the highly cleared south-western Australian wheatbelt that were originally dominated by forb-rich eucalypt woodlands. Environmentally induced spatial structuring in AMF composition was examined at four scales: the regional scale associated with location, the site scale associated with past management (benchmark woodlands with no agricultural management history, livestock grazing, recent revegetation), the patch scale associated with trees and canopy gaps, and the fine scale associated with the herbaceous plant species beneath which soils were sourced. Field-collected soils were cultured in trap pots; then, AMF composition was determined by identifying spores and through ITS1 sequencing. Structuring was strongest at site scales, where composition was strongly related to prior management and associated changes in soil phosphorus. The two fields were dominated by the genera Funneliformis and Paraglomus, with little convergence back to woodland composition after revegetation. The two benchmark woodlands were characterized by Ambispora gerdemannii and taxa from Gigasporaceae. Their AMF communities were strongly structured at patch scales associated with trees and gaps, in turn most strongly related to soil N. By contrast, there were few patterns at fine scales related to different herbaceous plant species, or at regional scales associated with the 175 km distance between benchmark woodlands. Important areas for future investigation are to identify the circumstances in which recolonization by woodland AMF may be limited by fungal propagule availability, reduced plant diversity and/or altered chemistry in agricultural soils.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:42239

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