Plant and Soil

, Volume 270, Issue 1, pp 249-255

First online:

Lifespans of fungal rhizomorphs under nitrogen fertilization in a pinyon-juniper woodland

  • Kathleen K. TresederAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Department of Earth System Science, University of California Irvine Email author 
  • , Michael F. AllenAffiliated withCenter for Conservation Biology, University of California Riverside
  • , Roger W. RuessAffiliated withInstitute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • , Kurt S. PregitzerAffiliated withSchool of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Michigan Technological University
  • , Ronald L. HendrickAffiliated withSchool of Forest Resources, University of Georgia

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The lifespan of individual microbes in the soil influences nutrient cycling rates as well as population dynamics, but their responses to global change factors such as anthropogenic nitrogen deposition have been challenging to quantify in situ. We used minirhizotron images to track the abundance and turnover rate of individual fungal rhizomorphs under nitrogen fertilization in a pinyon-juniper woodland in New Mexico. We hypothesized that increases in nitrogen availability would alter rhizomorph lifespan and abundance. Sequential images were collected over eight sampling dates from November 1997 to August 1999, and a total of 278 rhizomorphs were examined. We found that neither standing stocks nor lifespans of rhizomorphs differed significantly between treatments. Lifespans of rhizomorphs lasted eleven months on average, indicating that nutrient immobilization in these structures could last for longer than a growing season in these sites.


Basidiomycota Juniperus monosperma minirhizotron nitrogen Pinus edulis survival