Arbuscular mycorrhizas are present on Spitsbergen
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A previous study of 76 plant species on Spitsbergen in the High Arctic concluded that structures resembling arbuscular mycorrhizas were absent from roots. Here, we report a survey examining the roots of 13 grass and forb species collected from 12 sites on the island for arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) colonisation. Of the 102 individuals collected, we recorded AM endophytes in the roots of 41 plants of 11 species (Alopecurus ovatus, Deschampsia alpina, Festuca rubra ssp. richardsonii, putative viviparous hybrids of Poa arctica and Poa pratensis, Poa arctica ssp. arctica, Trisetum spicatum, Coptidium spitsbergense, Ranunculus nivalis, Ranunculus pygmaeus, Ranunculus sulphureus and Taraxacum arcticum) sampled from 10 sites. Both coarse AM endophyte, with hyphae of 5–10 μm width, vesicles and occasional arbuscules, and fine endophyte, consisting of hyphae of 1–3 μm width and sparse arbuscules, were recorded in roots. Coarse AM hyphae, vesicles, arbuscules and fine endophyte hyphae occupied 1.0–30.7, 0.8–18.3, 0.7–11.9 and 0.7–12.8% of the root lengths of colonised plants, respectively. Principal component analysis indicated no associations between the abundances of AM structures in roots and edaphic factors. We conclude that the AM symbiosis is present in grass and forb roots on Spitsbergen.
KeywordsArbuscular mycorrhizas High Arctic Spitsbergen Svalbard
The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) provided financial support for this study through its Arctic Mycology course (AB-336/836). The UNIS Logistics Department and Nick Cox of the UK Arctic Research Station provided boat access to Kapp Linné, Colesdalen, Kvadehuken and Ossian Sars. The Governor of Svalbard permitted the collection of plants and soils, and Professor Steve Coulson gave advice on sampling locations. Iva Pitelkova and Professors Ulrik Søchting and Kirsten Christoffersen helped to collect plants and soils, Laura Gerrish drew the map shown in Online Resource 1 and Katherine Francis helped to prepare soil samples. Manisha Patel of CEH Lancaster performed P determinations, and Professor Henry Väre (University of Helsinki) provided helpful information. The editor and two anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments. All are gratefully acknowledged.
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