Morphological and ecophysiological root and leaf traits in ectomycorrhizal, arbuscular-mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal Alnus incana seedlings
Background and aims
The aim was to assess possible benefits or drawbacks of arbuscular-mycorrhizal (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (EM) colonisation compared to no mycorrhizas (NM) in seedlings of the same host species. Eight broadleaf species were tested for mycorrhiza formation. Grey alder (Alnus incana) and four fungal species were selected for further experiments.
Grey alder seedlings were inoculated with AM fungi Rhizophagus intraradices and Glomus hoi or EM fungi Paxillus involutus plus an ascomycete isolated from Alnus roots or mock-inoculated (NM).
EM formed in 70% of root tips and AM in 30% of root length. AM plants were smaller than EM and NM, but their specific root length (SRL) and specific leaf area (SLA) were highest. Net photosynthesis, stomatal conductance and shoot water potential did not differ between treatments. Foliar Ca, K, Mg, Mn, N, P and S concentrations (mg g−1) were highest in AM plants. However, total foliar contents (mg per plant) were lowest in AM plants, except for P, K and Zn.
The larger SRL and SLA suggest more efficient resource usage in AM plants, even though these were smaller than EM and NM plants. Grey alder is proposed as a new model species for comparisons between mycorrhiza types in cold climates.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11104-018-03922-w
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