Soil Characteristics Driving Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Communities in Semiarid Mediterranean Soils.Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 06 01; 82(11):3348-3356.AE
We investigated communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in the roots and the rhizosphere soil of Brachypodium retusum in six different natural soils under field conditions. We explored phylogenetic patterns of AMF composition using indicator species analyses to find AMF associated with a given habitat (root versus rhizosphere) or soil type. We tested whether the AMF characteristics of different habitats or contrasting soils were more closely related than expected by chance. Then we used principal-component analysis and multivariate analysis of variance to test for the relative contribution of each factor in explaining the variation in fungal community composition. Finally, we used redundancy analysis to identify the soil properties that significantly explained the differences in AMF communities across soil types. The results pointed out a tendency of AMF communities in roots to be closely related and different from those in the rhizosphere soil. The indicator species analyses revealed AMF associated with rhizosphere soil and the root habitat. Soil type also determined the distribution of AMF communities in soils, and this effect could not be attributed to a single soil characteristic, as at least three soil properties related to microbial activity, i.e., pH and levels of two micronutrients (Mn and Zn), played significant roles in triggering AMF populations.
Communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are main components of soil biota that can determine the productivity of ecosystems. These fungal assemblages vary across host plants and ecosystems, but the main ecological processes that shape the structures of these communities are still largely unknown. A field study in six different soil types from semiarid areas revealed that AMF communities are significantly influenced by habitat (soil versus roots) and soil type. In addition, three soil properties related to microbiological activity (i.e., pH and manganese and zinc levels) were the main factors triggering the distribution of AMF. These results contribute to a better understanding of the ecological factors that can shape AMF communities, an important soil microbial group that affects multiple ecosystem functions.