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      Subterranean Desert Rodents (Genus Ctenomys) Create Soil Patches Enriched in Root Endophytic Fungal Propagules.

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          Abstract

          Subterranean rodents are considered major soil engineers, as they can locally modify soil properties by their burrowing activities. In this study, the effect of a subterranean rodent of the genus Ctenomys on soil properties and root endophytic fungal propagules in a shrub desert of northwest Argentina was examined. Our main goal was to include among root endophytic fungi not only arbuscular mycorrhiza but also the dark septate endophytes. We compared the abundance of fungal propagules as well as several microbiological and physicochemical parameters between soils from burrows and those from the surrounding landscape. Our results show that food haulage, the deposition of excretions, and soil mixing by rodents' burrowing promote soil patchiness by (1) the enrichment in both types of root endophytic fungal propagules; (2) the increase in organic matter and nutrients; and (3) changes in soil edaphic properties including moisture, field capacity, and texture. These patches may play a critical role as a source of soil heterogeneity in desert ecosystems, where burrows constructed in interpatches of bare soil can act, once abandoned, as "islands of fertility," promoting the establishment of plants in an otherwise hostile environment.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Microb Ecol
          Microbial ecology
          Springer Science and Business Media LLC
          1432-184X
          0095-3628
          Feb 2019
          : 77
          : 2
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Centro Regional de Investigaciones Científicas y Transferencia Tecnológica de La Rioja (CRILAR-CONICET, Provincia de La Rioja, UNLAR, SEGEMAR, UNCa), Entre Ríos y Mendoza s/n, 5301, Anillaco La Rioja, Argentina. victoriamiranda@conicet.gov.ar.
          [2 ] Centro Regional de Investigaciones Científicas y Transferencia Tecnológica de La Rioja (CRILAR-CONICET, Provincia de La Rioja, UNLAR, SEGEMAR, UNCa), Entre Ríos y Mendoza s/n, 5301, Anillaco La Rioja, Argentina.
          [3 ] Centro de Estudios Biomédicos, Biotecnológicos, Ambientales y de Diagnóstico (CEBBAD), Departamento de Ciencias Naturales y Antropológicas, CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
          Article
          10.1007/s00248-018-1227-8
          10.1007/s00248-018-1227-8
          30003276
          2cfdfcaa-7fde-4992-9264-f186bcd2dc6d
          History

          Arbuscular mycorrhiza,Biopedturbation,Dark septate endophytes,Fungal dispersion,Monte Desert

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