Global sampling of plant roots expands the described molecular diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
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We aimed to enhance understanding of the molecular diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) by building a new global dataset targeting previously unstudied geographical areas. In total, we sampled 96 plant species from 25 sites that encompassed all continents except Antarctica. AMF in plant roots were detected by sequencing the nuclear SSU rRNA gene fragment using either cloning followed by Sanger sequencing or 454-sequencing. A total of 204 AMF phylogroups (virtual taxa, VT) were recorded, increasing the described number of Glomeromycota VT from 308 to 341 globally. Novel VT were detected from 21 sites; three novel but nevertheless widespread VT (Glomus spp. MO-G52, MO-G53, MO-G57) were recorded from six continents. The largest increases in regional VT number were recorded in previously little-studied Oceania and in the boreal and polar climatic zones — this study providing the first molecular data from the latter. Ordination revealed differences in AM fungal communities between different continents and climatic zones, suggesting that both biogeographic history and environmental conditions underlie the global variation of those communities. Our results show that a considerable proportion of Glomeromycota diversity has been recorded in many regions, though further large increases in richness can be expected in remaining unstudied areas.