Article

Mycological Progress

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 155-166

First online:

The new method ‘micromapping’, a means to study species-specific associations and exclusions of ectomycorrhizae

  • Reinhard AgererAffiliated withDepartment Biology I, Biodiversitätsforschung: Systematische Mykologie, Universität München Email author 
  • , Rüdiger GroteAffiliated withLehrstuhl für Waldwachstumskunde, Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan, Technische Universität München
  • , Stefan RaidlAffiliated withDepartment Biology I, Biodiversitätsforschung: Systematische Mykologie, Universität München

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Abstract

Ectomycorrhizae (ECM) are obligate symbiotic associations between higher fungi and most tree species of the temperate and boreal forests, and of some tree families in tropical areas. As the anatomical features of these symbiotic organs are very diverse and suggested to improve tree growth differently efficient, their frequency and natural distribution in the soil, as well as the differentiation and amount of their substrate exploiting extramatrical mycelia, are of special ecological interest. The soil with its heterogeneous assemblage of micro-niches certainly provokes ectomycorrhizal fungi to compete for such microsites. We therefore applied the method ‘micromapping’ to record the ECM in their natural position with the following question in mind: Do indicators exist for an exclusion of or an association with other ectomycorrhizal species or not? Thoroughly excavated and carefully cleaned ectomycorrhizae of the OF horizon of a Picea abies stand were drawn in their natural position on perspex plates of 5 × 5 cm mapping area (McMp) with ink of different colours. They were afterwards removed and specified. Following scanning of the McMp, a special computer program was applied to analyse their distribution. The spatial relations of the ECM were calculated according to the ‘growing grid method’. The preliminary results suggest that the ECM of Russula ochroleuca and Piceirhiza internicrassihyphis show no common occurrence within short distances. This possibly applies also for Russula ochroleuca in comparison to Piceirhiza cinnbadiosimilis, for Elaphomyces granulatus in comparison to Xerocomus badius, and Lactarius decipiens in comparison to Piceirhiza cinnbadiosimilis. Cortinarius obtusus with Piceirhiza internicrassihyphis, and Piceirhiza internicrassihyphis with Xerocomus badius, indicate, however, rather high values of common occurrence. Due to the small number of replications, the standard deviations are high. More detailed investigations are therefore necessary before definite conclusions can be made. This method, however, apparently provides a useful tool to analyse spatial relations of ECM in the soil. Possible reasons for exclusions and associations of ECM are briefly discussed.