Differential effects of abiotic factors and host plant traits on diversity and community composition of root-colonizing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in a salt-stressed ecosystem

Xiaohong Guo, Jun Gong
Mycorrhiza 2014, 24 (2): 79-94
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) were investigated in roots of 18 host plant species in a salinized south coastal plain of Laizhou Bay, China. From 18 clone libraries of 18S rRNA genes, all of the 22 AMF phylotypes were identified into Glomus, of which 18 and 4 were classified in group A and B in the phylogenetic tree, respectively. The phylotypes related to morphologically defined Glomus species occurred generally in soil with higher salinity. AMF phylotype richness, Shannon index, and evenness were not significantly different between root samples from halophytes vs. non-halophytes, invades vs. natives, or annuals vs. perennials. However, AMF diversity estimates frequently differed along the saline gradient or among locations, but not among pH gradients. Moreover, UniFrac tests showed that both plant traits (salt tolerance, life style or origin) and abiotic factors (salinity, pH, or location) significantly affected the community composition of AMF colonizers. Redundancy and variation partitioning analyses revealed that soil salinity and pH, which respectively explained 6.9 and 4.2 % of the variation, were the most influential abiotic variables in shaping the AMF community structure. The presented data indicate that salt tolerance, life style, and origin traits of host species may not significantly affect the AMF diversity in roots, but do influence the community composition in this salinized ecosystem. The findings also highlight the importance of soil salinity and pH in driving the distribution of AMF in plant and soil systems.

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