Similar taxonomic richness but different communities of ectomycorrhizas in native forests and non-native plantation forests
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- O’Hanlon, R. & Harrington, T.J. Mycorrhiza (2012) 22: 371. doi:10.1007/s00572-011-0412-0
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This investigation sought to examine if there was a difference between the ectomycorrhizal (ECM) communities in plots of native oak and introduced Scots pine and Sitka spruce forest. The ECM communities in four plots of each forest type were described, from five soil cores collected in each plot, by morphotyping, internal transcribed spacer (ITS)–restriction fragment length polymorphism matching of mycorrhizas and sporocarps and ITS sequencing. Fifty-one distinct taxa were distinguished; 25 were identified to species level, 11 to genus and 15 remained unidentified. Seventy-one ECM species were recorded as sporocarps from the forest plots; most (43 species) were found in the Sitka spruce plots. The below-ground ECM communities of the different forest types did not differ significantly with respect to species richness of taxa on roots, but differed in species composition. Multivariate analysis produced a clear separation of the communities of the different forest types using below-ground data, but the above-ground sporocarp data did not separate the forest types. Moreover, results of a Mantel test found no relationship between the above- and below-ground similarity matrices. The oak plots had the most distinctive ECM community, with Laccaria amethystina and Elaphomyces granulatus being frequent. The Sitka spruce plots showed the lowest intra-forest type similarity and were often dominated by “nursery type” ectomycorrhizas. There was only 10% similarity between the above- and below-ground ECM species in these plots, different colonisation methods of ectomycorrhizal taxa and insufficient below-ground sampling being possible reasons for this disparity. Our results indicate that plantations of non-native Sitka spruce can support similar levels of ECM diversity as native forests.