Impact of land use on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities in rural Canada.

Dai, M., Bainard, L.D., Hamel, C., Gan, Y.T., and Lynch, D.H. (2013). "Impact of land use on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities in rural Canada.", Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 79(21), pp. 6719-6729. doi : 10.1128/AEM.01333-13  Access to full text


The influence of land use on soil bio-resources is largely unknown. We examined the communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi in wheat-growing cropland, natural areas, and seminatural areas along roads. We sampled the Canadian prairie extensively (317 sites) and sampled 20 sites in the Atlantic maritime ecozone for comparison. The proportions of the different AM fungal taxa in the communities found at these sites varied with land use type and ecozones, based on pyrosequencing of 18S rRNA gene (rDNA) amplicons, but the lists of AM fungal taxa obtained from the different land use types and ecozones were very similar. In the prairie, the Glomeraceae family was the most abundant and diverse family of Glomeromycota, followed by the Claroideoglomeraceae, but in the Atlantic maritime ecozone, the Claroideoglomeraceae family was most abundant. In the prairie, species richness and Shannon's diversity index were highest in roadsides, whereas cropland had a higher degree of species richness than roadsides in the Atlantic maritime ecozone. The frequencies of occurrence of the different AM fungal taxa in croplands in the prairie and Atlantic maritime ecozones were highly correlated, but the AM fungal communities in these ecozones had different structures. We conclude that the AM fungal resources of soils are resilient to disturbance and that the richness of AM fungi under cropland management has been maintained, despite evidence of a structural shift imposed by this type of land use. Roadsides in the Canadian prairie are a good repository for the conservation of AM fungal diversity.

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