Nitrogen ion form and spatio-temporal variation in root distribution mediate nitrogen effects on lifespan of ectomycorrhizal roots
Background and Aims
Absorptive roots active in soil resource uptake are often intimately associated with mycorrhizal fungi, yet it remains unclear how nitrogen (N) loading affects lifespan of absorptive roots associating with ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi.
Through a three-year minirhizotron experiment, we investigated the responses of ECM lifespan to different rates of N addition and examined the roles of N ion form, rooting depth, seasonal root cohort, and ECM morphotype in mediating the N effects on ECM lifespan in a slash pine (Pinus elliottii) forest in subtropical China.
High rates of NH4Cl significantly decreased foliar P concentrations and increased foliar N:P ratios, and mean ECM lifespan was negatively correlated to foliar P concentration. N additions generally increased the lifespan of most ectomycorrhizas, but the specific differences were context dependent. N rates and forms exerted significant positive effects on ECM lifespan with stronger effects occurring at high N rates and under ammonium N addition. N additions extended lifespan of ectomycorrhizas in shallower soil and born in spring and autumn, but shortened lifespan of ectomycorrhizas in deeper soil and born in summer and winter. N additions reduced lifespan of dichotomous ectomycorrhizas, but increased lifespan of coralloid ectomycorrhizas.
The increased ECM lifespan in response to N additions may primarily be driven by the persistent and aggravated P limitation to plants. Our findings highlight the importance of environmental contexts in controlling ECM lifespan and the need to consider potential differences among mycorrhizal morphotypes when studying N—lifespan relationships of absorptive roots in the context of N deposition.
KeywordsAbsorptive roots Ectomycorrhizas Median lifespan Morphotype Nitrogen deposition
This research is financially supported by the grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31130009), the National Key Research and Development Plan (No. 2016YFD06000202), and the Key Frontier Science Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (QYJ-DQ098). The authors acknowledge the contributions of the anonymous reviewers.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
- Agerer R (1991) Characteristics of ectomycorrhiza. In: Norris JR, Read DJ, Varma AK (eds) Methods in microbiology, vol vol 23. Academic Press, New York, pp. 25–73Google Scholar
- Bauer GA, Bazzaz FA, Minocha R, Long S, Magill A, Aber J, Berntson GM (2004) Effects of chronic N additions on tissue chemistry, photosynthetic capacity, and carbon sequestration potential of a red pine (Pinus resinosa Ait.) stand in the NE United States. Forest Ecol Manag 196:173–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cox DR (1972) Regression models and life-tables. J Roy Stat Soc B 34:187–220Google Scholar
- Gao WL, Kou L, Zhang JB, Müller C, Wang HM, Yang H, Li SG (2016) Enhanced deposition of nitrate alters microbial cycling of N in a subtropical forest soil. Biol Fert Soils in press Google Scholar
- IPCC (2013) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner GK, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds) Contribution of working group I to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Kauserud H, Heegaard E, Büntgen U, Halvorsen R, Egli S, Senn-Irlet B, Krisai-Greilhuber I, Dämon W, Sparks T, Nordén J (2012) Warming-induced shift in European mushroom fruiting phenology. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109:14488–14493Google Scholar
- Koide RT, Shumway DL, Xu B, Sharda JN (2007) On temporal partitioning of a community of ectomycorrhizal fungi. New Phytol 174:420–429Google Scholar
- Kubisch P, Hertel D, Leuschner C (2015) Do ectomycorrhizal and arbuscular mycorrhizal temperate tree species systematically differ in root order-related fine root morphology and biomass? Front Plant Sci 6:1–12Google Scholar
- Matson PA, McDowell WH, Townsend AR, Vitousek PM (1999) The globalization of N deposition: ecosystem consequences in tropical environments. Biogeochemistry 46:67–83Google Scholar
- McCormack ML, Guo DL (2014) Impacts of environmental factors on fine root lifespan. Front Plant Sci 5:1–11Google Scholar
- McCormack ML, Dickie IA, Eissenstat DM, Fahey TJ, Fernandez CW, Guo DL, Helmisaari HS, Hobbie EA, Iversen CM, Jackson RB, Leppalammi-Kujansuu J, Norby RJ, Phillips RP, Pregitzer KS, Pritchard SG, Rewald B, Zadworny M (2015) Redefining fine roots improves understanding of below-ground contributions to terrestrial biosphere processes. New Phytol 207:505–518CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Soudzilovskaia NA, Douma JC, Akhmetzhanova AA, Bodegom PM, Cornwell WK, Moens EJ, Treseder KK, Tibbett M, Wang YP, Cornelissen JH (2015) Global patterns of plant root colonization intensity by mycorrhizal fungi explained by climate and soil chemistry. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 24:371–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar