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      The role of local environment and geographical distance in determining community composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi at the landscape scale.

      The ISME Journal

      Biodiversity, Ecosystem, Ireland, Lolium, microbiology, Mycorrhizae, classification, genetics, physiology, Plant Roots, Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length, RNA, Ribosomal, 18S, Soil, chemistry, Soil Microbiology, Trifolium

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          Abstract

          Arbuscular fungi have a major role in directing the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems yet little is known about their biogeographical distribution. The Baas-Becking hypothesis ('everything is everywhere, but, the environment selects') was tested by investigating the distribution of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) at the landscape scale and the influence of environmental factors and geographical distance in determining community composition. AMF communities in Trifolium repens and Lolium perenne roots were assessed in 40 geographically dispersed sites in Ireland representing different land uses and soil types. Field sampling and laboratory bioassays were used, with AMF communities characterised using 18S rRNA terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism. Landscape-scale distribution of AMF was driven by the local environment. AMF community composition was influenced by abiotic variables (pH, rainfall and soil type), but not land use or geographical distance. Trifolium repens and L. perenne supported contrasting communities of AMF, and the communities colonising each plant species were consistent across pasture habitats and over distance. Furthermore, L. perenne AMF communities grouped by soil type within pasture habitats. This is the largest and most comprehensive study that has investigated the landscape-scale distribution of AMF. Our findings support the Baas-Becking hypothesis at the landscape scale and demonstrate the strong influence the local environment has on determining AMF community composition.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          23096401
          3578569
          10.1038/ismej.2012.127

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