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Alien plants associate with widespread generalist arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal taxa: evidence from a continental-scale study using massively parallel 454 sequencing

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Abstract:

Abstract Aim 

The biogeography of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi is poorly understood, and consequently the potential of AM fungi to determine plant distribution has been largely overlooked. We aimed to describe AM fungal communities associating with a single host-plant species across a wide geographical area, including the plant’s native, invasive and experimentally introduced ranges. We hypothesized that an alien AM plant associates primarily with the geographically widespread generalist AM fungal taxa present in a novel range. Location 

Europe, China. Methods 

We transplanted the palm Trachycarpus fortunei into nine European sites where it does not occur as a native species, into one site where it is naturalized (Switzerland), and into one glasshouse site. We harvested plant roots after two seasons. In addition, we sampled palms at three sites in the plant’s native range (China). Roots were subjected to DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and 454 sequencing of AM fungal sequences. We analysed fungal communities with non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) ordination and cluster analysis and studied the frequency of geographically widespread fungal taxa with log-linear analysis. We compared fungal communities in the roots of the palm with those in resident plants at one site in the introduced range (Estonia) where natural AM fungal communities had previously been studied. Results 

We recorded a total of 73 AM fungal taxa. AM fungal communities in the native and introduced ranges differed from one another, while those in the invasive range contained taxa present in both other ranges. Geographically widespread AM fungal taxa were over-represented in palm roots in all regions, but especially in the introduced range. At the Estonian site, the palm was colonized by the same community of widespread AM fungal taxa as associate with resident habitat-generalist plants; by contrast, resident forest-specialist plants were colonized by a diverse community of widespread and other AM fungal taxa. Main conclusions 

AM fungal communities in the native, invasive and experimentally introduced ranges varied in taxonomic composition and richness, but they shared a pool of geographically widespread, non-host-specific taxa that might support the invasion of a generalist alien plant. Our dataset provides the first geographical overview of AM taxon distributions obtained using a single host-plant species.

Keywords: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; China; Europe; Glomeromycota; Trachycarpus fortunei; biotic invasion; forest ecosystem; fungal diversity; host specificity; soil microbial community

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02478.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Botany, Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu, 40 Lai St., 51005 Tartu, Estonia 2: Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-75007 Uppsala, Sweden 3: Institute of Biology/Geobotany and Botanical Garden, Martin Luther University Halle Wittenberg, Am Kirchtor 1, 06108 Halle, Germany 4: UFZ, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Department of Community Ecology, Theodor-Lieser-Strasse 4, 06120 Halle, Germany 5: Earth & Biosphere Institute, IICB, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK 6: Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Fr.R. Kreutzwaldi 5, Tartu 51014, Estonia 7: School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland 8: Department of Plant Ecology, University of Bayreuth, 95440 Bayreuth, Germany

Publication date: July 1, 2011

bsc/jbiog/2011/00000038/00000007/art00007
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