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Effect of chronic ammonium nitrate addition on the ectomycorrhizal community in a black spruce stand

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Observed modifications of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) communities have been connected to the increased N depositions of the 20th century. Because of their narrow niche width, small disturbances of soil conditions can produce greater effects on the fungal species than on their host trees. This study investigated the ECM community in a black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) stand subjected to long-term additions of 9 and 30 kg N·ha–1·year–1 of ammonium nitrate, representing 3 and 10 times the atmospheric N deposition at the site, respectively. Root tip vitality and ECM presence were detected on samples collected from the organic horizon and ECM were classified into morphotypes according to their morphological and anatomical characters. In the control, 80.6% of the root tips were vital, 76.5% of them showing ECM colonization. Higher root tip vitality and mycorrhization were observed in the treated plots. Forty-one morphotypes were identified, most of them detected at the higher N inputs. Results diverging from the expectations of a reduction in ECM presence and diversity could be related to a higher growth rate of the trees following fertilization. The repeated application of small N doses could have been a better imitation of natural inputs from atmospheric deposition and could have provided more reliable responses of ECM to treatment.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Département des Sciences Fondamentales, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, 555 Boulevard de l'Université, Chicoutimi, QC G7H 2B1, Canada. 2: Direction de la Recherche Forestière, Forêt Québec, Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, 2700 rue Einstein, Sainte-Foy, QC G1P 3W8, Canada.

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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