Plant and Soil

, Volume 408, Issue 1–2, pp 107–120 | Cite as

Spring to autumn changes in the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal community composition in the different propagule types associated to a Mediterranean shrubland

  • Sara Varela-CerveroEmail author
  • Álvaro López-García
  • José M. Barea
  • Concepción Azcón-Aguilar
Regular Article


Background and aims

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) appear differentially represented among propagule forms [intraradical mycelium (IRM) in colonized roots, spores and extraradical mycelium (ERM)]. However, spring to autumn changes in the AMF communities harboured in the different propagule forms has not been studied, being this the aim of the present study.


A terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism approach was used to monitor, in spring and autumn, the AMF community composition present in the three propagule types associated to five shrub species in a semi-arid Mediterranean environment.


The AMF community composition in roots was significantly different between spring and autumn; however, no significant differences were detected in soil propagules (spores and ERM). Different trends were identified according to the preferential biomass allocation patterns of AMF phylotypes, suggesting different life strategies: those allocating mainly into IRM (belonging to the Glomeraceae), ERM (Diversisporaceae and Gigasporaceae) or spores (Pacisporaceae and Paraglomeraceae).


Differences of AMF taxa in the biomass allocation patterns among propagules are maintained throughout the year. Progress in the knowledge of functional features of AMF communities and their responses to seasonal variations are important for the AMF application in Mediterranean ecosystems.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi Diversity Mycorrhizal propagules Seasonal changes Life strategy Mediterranean environments 



Sara Varela-Cervero thanks the Formación de Personal Investigador Programme (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación) for financial support. This research was supported by the Spanish government under the Plan Nacional de I + D + I, co-financed by FEDER funds (project CGL-2009-08825) and the Junta de Andalucía, Consejería de Economía, Innovación y Ciencia (project CVI-7640). We also thank the Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía (Spain) for permission to work in Sierra de Baza Natural Park. We sincerely thank Estefanía Berrio for technical assistance and José-Miguel Barea Azcón, from the Environment and Water Agency of Andalusia, for providing the climatic data of the study site. Additionally, we would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and the Section Editor for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the manuscript.

Supplementary material

11104_2016_2912_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (104 kb)
Fig S1 Neighbor-joining tree based on the AML1-AML2 fragment of the small subunit of rDNA gene displaying phylogenetic relationships of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi detected in this study. Numbers near branches indicate the bootstrap supporting values. Only topologies with values ≥ 50 % are shown (1000 replicates). Sequences are labelled according to the clone identity number. Clusters (grey boxes) include sequences showing a pairwise similarity higher than 98 %, representing different phylotypes. Phylotypes are named following the closest virtual taxa code of MaarjAM database (Öpik et al. 2010). The prefix corresponds to the Glomeromycota family, following the consensus classification proposed by Redecker et al. 2013: Glo-Glomeraceae, Cla-Claroideoglomeraceae, Div-Diversisporaceae, Scu-Gigasporaceae, Pac-Pacisporaceae, Par-Paraglomeraceae. Mortierella polycephala was used as out-group. (PDF 104 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Varela-Cervero
    • 1
    Email author
  • Álvaro López-García
    • 1
  • José M. Barea
    • 1
  • Concepción Azcón-Aguilar
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Microbiología del Suelo y Sistemas SimbióticosEstación Experimental del Zaidín, CSICGranadaSpain

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