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Fine root endophytes (FRE) were traditionally considered a morphotype of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), but recent genetic studies demonstrate that FRE belong within the subphylum Mucoromycotina, rather than in the subphylum Glomeromycotina with the AMF. These findings prompt enquiry into the fundamental ecology of FRE and AMF. We sampled FRE and AMF in roots of Trifolium subterraneum from 58 sites across temperate southern Australia. We investigated the environmental drivers of composition, richness, and root colonization of FRE and AMF by using structural equation modelling and canonical correspondence analyses. Root colonization by FRE increased with increasing temperature and rainfall but decreased with increasing phosphorus (P). Root colonization by AMF increased with increasing soil organic carbon but decreased with increasing P. Richness of FRE decreased with increasing temperature and soil pH. Richness of AMF increased with increasing temperature and rainfall but decreased with increasing soil aluminium (Al) and pH. Aluminium, soil pH, and rainfall were, in decreasing order, the strongest drivers of community composition of FRE; they were also important drivers of community composition of AMF, along with temperature, in decreasing order: rainfall, Al, temperature, and soil pH. Thus, FRE and AMF showed the same responses to some (e.g. soil P, soil pH) and different responses to other (e.g. temperature) key environmental factors. Overall, our data are evidence for niche differentiation among these co-occurring mycorrhizal associates.
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- 2 Finished
Ryan, M., Standish, R., Dickie, I. & Bending, G.
1/01/18 → 31/12/20
1/01/14 → 31/12/18