, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 718-727
Date: 03 Sep 2008

Complexity of Semiarid Gypsophilous Shrub Communities Mediates the AMF Biodiversity at the Plant Species Level

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The community composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) was analyzed in roots of Gypsophila struthium growing in gypsum soils under semiarid conditions. In order to investigate the effect of plant community degradation on the AMF biodiversity at the single species level, on the basis of the plant community complexity level, we selected four areas affected by degradation and shrub species spatial heterogeneity. The AM fungal community colonizing G. struthium was investigated from the morphological and molecular points of view. All plants were well colonized and showed a high level of infective AM propagules. Roots were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction, restriction fragment length polymorphism screening, and sequence analyses of the ribosomal DNA small subunit region. Four AM fungal types were identified and clustered into the AM fungal family: Glomeraceae, Glomus being the only taxon present. One fungal type was present in all the selected areas. Two fungal types are distinct from any previously published sequences and could be specific to gypsum soils. The chemical–physical properties of the soil were not correlated with the AMF diversity in roots. Our data show vegetation cover complexity-dependent differences in the AM fungal community composition.