, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 303-309
Date: 30 Oct 2001

Temporal and spatial variation of arbuscular mycorrhizas in salt marsh plants of the Tagus estuary (Portugal)

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Abstract.

The factors which may influence temporal and spatial variation in plant arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) colonization and propagule occurrence were evaluated in a Portuguese salt marsh poor in plant diversity. Two distinct sites were studied: a more-flooded (low marsh) and a less-flooded zone (high marsh). AM root colonization, AM fungal spore number and inoculum potential, soil edaphic parameters and tidal flooding time periods were analysed. Levels of AM colonization were considerable in Aster tripolium and Inula crithmoides but very low in Puccinellia maritima and non-existent in Spartina maritima, Halimione portulacoides, Arthrocnemum fruticosum and Arthrocnemum perenne. Fungal diversity was very low, with Glomus geosporum dominant at both marsh zones. Colonization showed no spatial variation within marsh zones but temporal variation was observed in the high marsh, dependent on plant phenological phases. In the low marsh, no significantly seasonal variation was observed. Apparently, plant phenological events were diluted by stressful conditions (e.g. flooding, salinity). Spore density was significantly different between marsh zones and showed temporal variation in both zones. This study showed that distribution of mycorrhizas in salt marsh is more dependent on host plant species than on environmental stresses.

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