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