3 years ago

Plant traits determine the phylogenetic structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities

Concepción Azcón-Aguilar, Álvaro López-García, Martti Vasar, Maarja Öpik, José M. Barea, Sara Varela-Cervero
Functional 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 to plant species differing in life cycle and growth form, i.e. 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-pyrosenquencing 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 over-dispersed 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. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/mec.14403

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