Berardia subacaulis Vill. is a monospecific genus that is endemic to the South-western Alps, where it grows on alpine screes, which are extreme habitats characterized by soil disturbance and limiting growth conditions. Root colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) is presumably of great importance in these environments, because of its positive effect on plant nutrition and stress tolerance, as well as on structuring the soil. However, there is currently a lack of information on this topic. In this paper, we tested which soil characteristics and biotic factors could contribute to determining the abundance and community composition of AMF in the roots of B. subacaulis, which had previously been found to be mycorrhizal. For such a reason, the influence of soil properties and environmental factors on AMF abundance and community composition in the roots of B. subacaulis, sampled on three different scree slopes, were analysed through microscopic and molecular analysis. The results have shown that the AMF community of Berardia roots was dominated by Glomeraceae, and included a core of AMF taxa, common to all three scree slopes. The vegetation coverage and dark septate endophytes were not related to the AMF colonization percentage and plant community did not influence the root AMF composition. The abundance of AMF in the roots was related to some chemical (available extractable calcium and potassium) and physical (cation exchange capacity, electrical conductivity and field capacity) properties of the soil, thus suggesting an effect of AMF on improving the soil quality. The non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) ordination of the AMF community composition showed that the diversity of AMF in the various sites was influenced not only by the soil quality, but also by the slope. Therefore, the slopeinduced physical disturbance of alpine screes may contribute to the selection of disturbancetolerant AMF taxa, which in turn may lead to different plant-fungus assemblages.

The abundance & diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are linked to the soil chemistry of screes & to slope in the Alpic paleo-endemic Berardia subacaulis

CASAZZA, GABRIELE;GUERRINA, MARIA;MINUTO, LUIGI;
2017

Abstract

Berardia subacaulis Vill. is a monospecific genus that is endemic to the South-western Alps, where it grows on alpine screes, which are extreme habitats characterized by soil disturbance and limiting growth conditions. Root colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) is presumably of great importance in these environments, because of its positive effect on plant nutrition and stress tolerance, as well as on structuring the soil. However, there is currently a lack of information on this topic. In this paper, we tested which soil characteristics and biotic factors could contribute to determining the abundance and community composition of AMF in the roots of B. subacaulis, which had previously been found to be mycorrhizal. For such a reason, the influence of soil properties and environmental factors on AMF abundance and community composition in the roots of B. subacaulis, sampled on three different scree slopes, were analysed through microscopic and molecular analysis. The results have shown that the AMF community of Berardia roots was dominated by Glomeraceae, and included a core of AMF taxa, common to all three scree slopes. The vegetation coverage and dark septate endophytes were not related to the AMF colonization percentage and plant community did not influence the root AMF composition. The abundance of AMF in the roots was related to some chemical (available extractable calcium and potassium) and physical (cation exchange capacity, electrical conductivity and field capacity) properties of the soil, thus suggesting an effect of AMF on improving the soil quality. The non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) ordination of the AMF community composition showed that the diversity of AMF in the various sites was influenced not only by the soil quality, but also by the slope. Therefore, the slopeinduced physical disturbance of alpine screes may contribute to the selection of disturbancetolerant AMF taxa, which in turn may lead to different plant-fungus assemblages.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/864322
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