Dual colonization of Eucalyptus urophylla S.T. Blake by arbuscular and ectomycorrhizal fungi affects levels of insect herbivore attack
1 Eucalypts are an important part of plantation forestry in Asia but, in south China, productivity is very low. This is due to infertile soils and lack of indigenous symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi. The genus Eucalyptus is unusual because it forms both arbuscular (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (ECM) associations.
2 Eucalyptus urophylla saplings were grown with and without AM (Glomus caledonium) and ECM (Laccaria laccata) fungi in a factorial design. Two experiments were performed: one to simulate nursery conditions and the other to simulate the early stages of plantation establishment. Plant growth was measured over 18 weeks and levels of insect attack were recorded.
3 The AM fungus reduced tree growth in the early stages, but the effect appeared to be transient. No effects of ECM were detected on tree growth, but the ectomycorrhiza reduced colonization by the arbuscular mycorrhiza. AM fungi appear to be rapid invaders of the root system, gradually being replaced by ECM.
4 Both fungal types affected levels of damage by insect herbivores. Most importantly, herbivory by the pest insects Anomala cupripes (Coleoptera) and Strepsicrates spp. (Lepidoptera) was decreased by ECM.
5 It is suggested that mycorrhizal effects on eucalypt insects may be determined by carbon allocation within the plant. Future studies of eucalypt mycorrhizas need to take into account the effects of the fungi on foliar-feeding insects and also the effects of insect herbivory on mycorrhizal establishment.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, U.K., 2: School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia 6150, Australia and 3: The Research institute of Tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Longdong, Guangzhou, 510520, P.R. of China
Publication date: August 1, 2005