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Plant traits determine the phylogenetic structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities

AuthorsLópez-García, A.; Varela-Cervero, Sara; Vasar, M.; Öpik, M.; Barea, José Miguel; Azcón González de Aguilar, Concepción
KeywordsCommunity assembly
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
Phylogenetic structure, Plant traits
Issue Date2017
PublisherBlackwell Publishing
CitationMolecular Ecology 26: 6948- 6959 (2017)
AbstractFunctional diversity in ecosystems has traditionally been studied using aboveground plant traits. Despite the known effect of plant traits on the microbial community composition, their effects on the microbial functional diversity are only starting to be assessed. In this study, the phylogenetic structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal communities associated with plant species differing in life cycle and growth form, that is, plant life forms, was determined to unravel the effect of plant traits on the functional diversity of this fungal group. The results of the 454 pyrosequencing showed that the AM fungal community composition differed across plant life forms and this effect was dependent on the soil collection date. Plants with ruderal characteristics tended to associate with phylogenetically clustered AM fungal communities. By contrast, plants with resource-conservative traits associated with phylogenetically overdispersed AM fungal communities. Additionally, the soil collected in different seasons yielded AM fungal communities with different phylogenetic dispersion. In summary, we found that the phylogenetic structure, and hence the functional diversity, of AM fungal communities is dependent on plant traits. This finding adds value to the use of plant traits for the evaluation of belowground ecosystem diversity, functions and processes.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1111/mec.14403
issn: 1365-294X
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