Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are essential constituents of most terrestrial ecosystems. AMF species differ in terms of propagation strategies and the major propagules they form. This study compared the AMF community composition of different propagule fractions— colonised roots, spores and extraradical mycelium (ERM)—associated with five Mediterranean plant species in Sierra de Baza Natural Park (Granada, Spain). AMF were identified using 454 pyrosequencing of the SSU rRNA gene. A total of 96 AMF phylogroups (virtual taxa, VT) were detected in the study site, including 31 novel VT. After per-sample sequencing depth standardisation, 71 VT were recorded from plant roots, and 47 from each of the spore and ERM fractions. AMF communities differed significantly among the propagule fractions, and the root-colonizing fraction differed among host plant species. Indicator VT were detected for the root (13 Glomus VTs), spore (Paraglomus VT281, VT336, Pacispora VT284) and ERM (Diversispora VT62) fractions. This study provides detailed evidence from a natural system that AMF taxa are differentially allocated among soil mycelium, soil spores and colonized root propagules. This has important implications for interpreting AMF diversity surveys and designing applications of AMF in vegetation restoration.
Via Jean-Michel Ané