New Caledonian serpentine (ultramafic) soils contain high levels of toxic heavy metals, in particular nickel, (up to 20 g kg−1) and are deficient in essential elements like carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus while having a high magnesium/calcium ratio. Although previous studies showed that ectomycorrhizal symbioses could play an important role in the adaptation of the endemic plants to ultramafic soils (FEMS Microbiol Ecol 72:238–49, 2010), none of them have compared the diversity of microbial communities from ultramafic vs non-ultramafic soils in New Caledonia. We explored the impact of edaphic characteristics on the diversity of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi associated with different endemic species of Tristaniopsis (Myrtaceae) growing under contrasting soil conditions in the natural ecosystems of New Caledonia. ECM root tips were thus sampled from two different ultramafic sites (Koniambo massif and Desmazures forest) vs two volcano-sedimentary ones (Arama and Mont Ninndo). The molecular characterization of the ECM fungi through partial sequencing of the ITS rRNA gene revealed the presence of different dominant fungal genera including, both soil types combined, Cortinarius (36.1%), Pisolithus (18.5%), Russula (13.4%), Heliotales (8.2%) and Boletellus (7.2%). A high diversity of ECM taxa associated with Tristaniopsis species was found in both ultramafic and volcano-sedimentary soils but no significant differences in ECM genera distribution were observed between both soil types. No link could be established between the phylogenetic clustering of ECM taxa and their soil type origin, thus suggesting a possible functional—rather than taxonomical—adaptation of ECM fungal communities to ultramafic soils.
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The Agence Nationale de la Recherche, ANR 07 BIODIV ULTRABIO, financially supported this research work. We are also thankful to the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan for supporting this work through a PhD fellowship.
Electronic supplementary material
General geographical map describing the New Caledonian archipelago, location of sites on ultramafic (in grey) and volcano sedimentary (in white) soils where Tristaniopsis spp. ECM root tips were collected. Ultramafic sites: (1) Forêt Desmazures and (2) Koniambo massif; volcano-sedimentary sites: (3) Col d’Arama and (4) Mount Ninndo (PDF 262 kb)
Species accumulation curves obtained for ECM a) in ultramafic soils; and b) in volcano-sedimentary soils (DOCX 78 kb)
Names, geographic coordinates, altitudes of the sampling sites and identification of the Tristaniopsis species present on each site (DOCX 76 kb)
List of ECM fungal taxa found in this study indicating their genus affiliation, Genbank accession number and closest BLAST hit (DOCX 42 kb)
Number of root tips successfully sequenced in each ECM genus obtained from the different study sites and Tristaniopsis species (DOCX 60 kb)
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Waseem, M., Ducousso, M., Prin, Y. et al. Ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity associated with endemic Tristaniopsis spp. (Myrtaceae) in ultramafic and volcano-sedimentary soils in New Caledonia. Mycorrhiza 27, 407–413 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00572-017-0761-4
- Serpentine soils
- Nickel tolerance
- Fungal diversity