Rhizomorph production and stump colonization by co-occurring Armillaria cepistipes and Armillaria ostoyae: an experimental study
In managed spruce forests, Armillaria cepistipes and A. ostoyae are efficient stump colonizers and may compete for these resources when they co-occur at the same site. The aim of this experiment was to quantify the mutual competitive ability of the two Armillaria species in producing rhizomorphs and in colonizing Norway spruce (Picea abies) stumps. Five isolates of A. cepistipes and two isolates of A. ostoyae were simultaneously inoculated pair-wise into pots containing a 4-year-old spruce seedling. For comparison, each isolate was also inoculated alone. One year after inoculation, stumps were created by cutting down the seedlings. Six months after creation of the stumps, rhizomorph production and stump colonization were assessed. Armillaria spp. were identified from 347 rhizomorphs and 48 colonized stumps. Armillaria cepistipes dominated both as rhizomorphs in the soil and on the stumps. Nevertheless, A. ostoyae was relatively more frequent on the stumps than in the soil and A. cepistipes was relatively more frequent in the soil than on the stumps. In both species, the ability to colonize the stumps in simultaneous inoculations was significantly reduced compared with single inoculations. In respect to rhizomorph production, simultaneous co-inoculations had a slightly stimulatory effect on A. cepistipes and no significant effect on A. ostoyae. Our study suggests a rather neutralistic co-existence of A. cepistipes and A. ostoyae as rhizomorphs in the soil. Concerning the ability to colonize stumps, the two species experience a mutual negative effect from the interaction, probably because of interspecific competition.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Forest Pathology and Dendrology, Department of Environmental Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH, Zürich, Switzerland 2: WSL Swiss Federal Research Institute, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
Publication date: February 1, 2006