Microbial Ecology

, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 418–427 | Cite as

Relative Importance of Individual Climatic Drivers Shaping Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Communities

  • Dan Xiang
  • Stavros D. Veresoglou
  • Matthias C. Rillig
  • Tianle Xu
  • Huan Li
  • Zhipeng Hao
  • Baodong Chen
Soil Microbiology


The physiological tolerance hypothesis (PTH) postulates that it is the tolerance of species to climatic factors that determines overall community richness. Here, we tested whether a group of mutualistic microbes, Glomeromycota, is distributed in semi-arid environments in ways congruent with the PTH. For this purpose, we modeled with climatic predictors the niche of each of the four orders of Glomeromycota and identified predictors of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal operational taxonomic unit (OTU) richness. Our dataset consisted of 50 paired grassland and farmland sites in the farming-pastoral ecotone of northern China. We observed shifts in the relative abundance of AM fungal orders in response to climatic variables but also declines in OTU richness in grassland sites that had experienced high precipitation during the preceding year which was incongruous with the PTH. We found pronounced differences across groups of Glomeromycotan fungi in their responses to climatic variables and identified strong dependencies of AM fungal communities on precipitation. Given that precipitation is expected to further decline in the farming-pastoral ecotone over the coming years and that mycorrhiza represents an integral constituent of ecosystem functioning, it is likely that the ecosystem services in the region will change accordingly.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi Grasslands Physiological tolerance hypothesis Ecological niche modeling Farming-pastoral ecotone 



This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (41371264; 41071178) and State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, China (SKLURE2012-1-03).

Supplementary material

248_2016_773_MOESM1_ESM.doc (520 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 519 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dan Xiang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stavros D. Veresoglou
    • 3
    • 4
  • Matthias C. Rillig
    • 3
    • 4
  • Tianle Xu
    • 1
  • Huan Li
    • 2
  • Zhipeng Hao
    • 1
  • Baodong Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.College of Resources and EnvironmentQingdao Agricultural UniversityQingdaoChina
  3. 3.Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für BiologieBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity ResearchBerlinGermany

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