The role of mycorrhizas in plant community structure and dynamics: lessons from grasslands

  • David C. Hartnett
  • Gail W. T. Wilson
Part of the Developments in Plant and Soil Sciences book series (DPSS, volume 94)


Research on the mycorrhizal associations over the past several decades has yielded increased understanding and appreciation of the important role of this symbiosis in the functioning and performance of plants in a wide array of terrestrial ecosystems. We now understand that the role of mycorrhizal fungi extends beyond the symbiotic acquisition of phosphorus for the host plant and reciprocal carbon provision from the host to fungus. Additional effects of mycorrhizal fungi on the functioning of their host plants including increased disease resistance, improved water relations, acquisition of other soil nutrients, and alterations in other soil physico-chemical properties have been documented. Other aspects of the ecology of mycorrhizas, including variation in the costs and benefits of carbon and nutrient exchange, the ecological significance of mycelial networks, the role of mycorrhizal symbiosis in multi-species interactions, and the extent and consequences of host-specificity in these associations have also recently been explored.


Plant Community Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungus Mycorrhizal Fungus Arbuscular Mycorrhiza Mycorrhizal Colonization 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • David C. Hartnett
    • 1
  • Gail W. T. Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of BiologyKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA

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