Life-history strategies of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi determine succession into roots of Rosmarinus officinalis L., a characteristic woody perennial plant species from Mediterranean ecosystems
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Few studies have analyzed life-history strategies of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), in terms of the different propagule types they produce, and their ability to colonize new seedlings. The aim was to assess whether life-history strategies influence AMF successional dynamics and assemblages.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) seedlings, grown in a mesocosm system, were colonized by either the AMF hyphae coming from a living rosemary plant, or from spores germinating in soil. The AMF community established in the plantlets was monitored every 3 months during 2 years, using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism of genes coding for rDNA.
The two different sources of AMF propagules resulted in a different initial community colonizing rosemary roots. AMF propagating from hyphae attached to living mycorrhizal-roots seemed to colonize faster and were season-dependent. AMF taxa originating from soil-borne propagules were most frequent over time and exhibit the dominant colonization strategy in this system. The evolution of the AMF community also revealed different strategies in succession.
AMF associated with rosemary evidenced contrasting life-history strategies in terms of source of inoculum for new colonization and hence survival. The observed successional dynamics of AMF have implications for understanding the ecological processes in Mediterranean environments and seasonality of colonization processes.
KeywordsArbuscular mycorrhizal fungi Life-history strategies Mycorrhizal propagules Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) Succession TRFLP
A. López-García thanks the Formación de Personal Investigador Programme (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Spain) for financial support. This research was supported by the Spanish Government under the Plan Nacional de I+D+I (project CGL-2009-08825). We sincerely thank Professor Peter Jeffries (Univ. of Kent) for editing comments and grammatical corrections to the manuscript, Dr. Nuria Ferrol for helpful discussions, Dr. Søren Rosendahl and Dr. Alicia Barroso for advices on optimizing the SSCP and TRFLP protocols. Additionally, we would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and the Section Editor for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the manuscript. We also thank the Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía (Spain) for permission to work in Sierra de Baza Natural Park.
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