Spatial and temporal structuring of arbuscular mycorrhizal communities is differentially influenced by abiotic factors and host crop in a semiarid prairie agroecosystem.

Bainard, L.D., Bainard, J.D., Hamel, C., and Gan, Y.T. (2014). "Spatial and temporal structuring of arbuscular mycorrhizal communities is differentially influenced by abiotic factors and host crop in a semiarid prairie agroecosystem.", FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 88(2), pp. 333-344. doi : 10.1111/1574-6941.12300  Access to full text

Abstract

Agroecosystems are dynamic systems that experience frequent chemical inputs and changes in plant cover. The objective of this study was to test whether abiotic (soil chemical properties and climate) and biotic (plant host identity) factors influence the spatial and temporal structuring of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) communities in a semi-arid prairie agroecosystem. 454 GS FLX+ high-throughput sequencing technology was successfully utilized to characterize the AMF communities based on long reads (mean length: 751.7 bp) and generated high-resolution data with excellent taxonomic coverage. The composition of the AMF community colonizing roots of the three crops (pea, lentil, and wheat) significantly differed, but plant host identity had a minimal effect on the composition of the AMF community in the soil. We observed a temporal shift in the composition of AMF communities in the roots and surrounding soil of the crops during the growing season. This temporal shift was particularly evident in the root-associated AMF community and was correlated with soil phosphate flux and climatic variables. In contrast, the spatial structuring of the AMF community in the site was correlated with soil pH and electrical conductivity. Individual AMF taxa were significantly correlated with pH, electrical conductivity, and phosphate flux, and these relationships were phylogenetically conserved at the genus level within the Glomeromycota.

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