Strong linkage between plant and soil fungal communities along a successional coastal dune system

Alice Roy-Bolduc, Etienne Laliberté, Stéphane Boudreau, Mohamed Hijri

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14 Citations (Web of Science)


Complex interactions between plants and soil microorganisms drive key ecosystem and community properties such as productivity and diversity. In nutrient-poor systems such as sand dunes, plant traits and fungal symbioses related to nutrient acquisition can strongly influence vegetation dynamics. We investigated plant and fungal communities in a relic foredune plain located on an archipelago in Québec, Canada. We detected distinct communities across the edaphic and successional gradient. Our results showed a clear increase in plant species richness, as well as in the diversity of nutrient-acquisition strategies. We also found a strong correlation between aboveground vegetation and soil fungal communities, and both responded similarly to soil physicochemical properties. Soil pH influenced the composition of plant and fungal communities, and could act as an important environmental filter along this relic foredune plain. The increasing functional diversity in plant nutrient-acquisition strategies across the gradient might favor resource partitioning and facilitation among co-occurring plant species. The coordinated changes in soil microbial and plant communities highlight the importance of aboveground-belowground linkages and positive biotic interactions during ecological succession in nutrient-poor environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfiw156
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


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