Convergence in mycorrhizal fungal communities due to drought, plant competition, parasitism, and susceptibility to herbivory

Consequences for fungi and host plants

Catherine A Gehring, Rebecca C. Mueller, Kristin E. Haskins, Tine K. Rubow, Thomas G Whitham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Plants and mycorrhizal fungi influence each other's abundance, diversity, and distribution. How other biotic interactions affect the mycorrhizal symbiosis is less well understood. Likewise, we know little about the effects of climate change on the fungal component of the symbiosis or its function. We synthesized our long-term studies on the influence of plant parasites, insect herbivores, competing trees, and drought on the ectomycorrhizal fungal communities associated with a foundation tree species of the southwestern United States, pinyon pine (Pinus edulis), and described how these changes feed back to affect host plant performance. We found that drought and all three of the biotic interactions studied resulted in similar shifts in ectomycorrhizal fungal community composition, demonstrating a convergence of the community towards dominance by a few closely related fungal taxa. Ectomycorrhizal fungi responded similarly to each of these stressors resulting in a predictable trajectory of community disassembly, consistent with ecological theory. Although we predicted that the fungal communities associated with trees stressed by drought, herbivory, competition, and parasitism would be poor mutualists, we found the opposite pattern in field studies. Our results suggest that climate change and the increased importance of herbivores, competitors, and parasites that can be associated with it, may ultimately lead to reductions in ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity, but that the remaining fungal community may be beneficial to host trees under the current climate and the warmer, drier climate predicted for the future. & copy ; 2014 Gehring, Mueller, Haskins, Rubow and Whitham.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberArticle 306
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume5
Issue numberJUN
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Herbivory
Droughts
Fungi
Symbiosis
Climate Change
Climate
Parasites
Southwestern United States
Fungal Structures
Pinus
Insects

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Community convergence
  • Community disassembly
  • Competition
  • Drought
  • Ectomycorrhizal fungi
  • Herbivory
  • Mistletoe parasitism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

Cite this

Convergence in mycorrhizal fungal communities due to drought, plant competition, parasitism, and susceptibility to herbivory : Consequences for fungi and host plants. / Gehring, Catherine A; Mueller, Rebecca C.; Haskins, Kristin E.; Rubow, Tine K.; Whitham, Thomas G.

In: Frontiers in Microbiology, Vol. 5, No. JUN, Article 306, 2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{1734ab0366b84741b7676cdd728ccac6,
title = "Convergence in mycorrhizal fungal communities due to drought, plant competition, parasitism, and susceptibility to herbivory: Consequences for fungi and host plants",
abstract = "Plants and mycorrhizal fungi influence each other's abundance, diversity, and distribution. How other biotic interactions affect the mycorrhizal symbiosis is less well understood. Likewise, we know little about the effects of climate change on the fungal component of the symbiosis or its function. We synthesized our long-term studies on the influence of plant parasites, insect herbivores, competing trees, and drought on the ectomycorrhizal fungal communities associated with a foundation tree species of the southwestern United States, pinyon pine (Pinus edulis), and described how these changes feed back to affect host plant performance. We found that drought and all three of the biotic interactions studied resulted in similar shifts in ectomycorrhizal fungal community composition, demonstrating a convergence of the community towards dominance by a few closely related fungal taxa. Ectomycorrhizal fungi responded similarly to each of these stressors resulting in a predictable trajectory of community disassembly, consistent with ecological theory. Although we predicted that the fungal communities associated with trees stressed by drought, herbivory, competition, and parasitism would be poor mutualists, we found the opposite pattern in field studies. Our results suggest that climate change and the increased importance of herbivores, competitors, and parasites that can be associated with it, may ultimately lead to reductions in ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity, but that the remaining fungal community may be beneficial to host trees under the current climate and the warmer, drier climate predicted for the future. & copy ; 2014 Gehring, Mueller, Haskins, Rubow and Whitham.",
keywords = "Climate change, Community convergence, Community disassembly, Competition, Drought, Ectomycorrhizal fungi, Herbivory, Mistletoe parasitism",
author = "Gehring, {Catherine A} and Mueller, {Rebecca C.} and Haskins, {Kristin E.} and Rubow, {Tine K.} and Whitham, {Thomas G}",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.3389/fmicb.2014.00306",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "5",
journal = "Frontiers in Microbiology",
issn = "1664-302X",
publisher = "Frontiers Media S. A.",
number = "JUN",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Convergence in mycorrhizal fungal communities due to drought, plant competition, parasitism, and susceptibility to herbivory

T2 - Consequences for fungi and host plants

AU - Gehring, Catherine A

AU - Mueller, Rebecca C.

AU - Haskins, Kristin E.

AU - Rubow, Tine K.

AU - Whitham, Thomas G

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - Plants and mycorrhizal fungi influence each other's abundance, diversity, and distribution. How other biotic interactions affect the mycorrhizal symbiosis is less well understood. Likewise, we know little about the effects of climate change on the fungal component of the symbiosis or its function. We synthesized our long-term studies on the influence of plant parasites, insect herbivores, competing trees, and drought on the ectomycorrhizal fungal communities associated with a foundation tree species of the southwestern United States, pinyon pine (Pinus edulis), and described how these changes feed back to affect host plant performance. We found that drought and all three of the biotic interactions studied resulted in similar shifts in ectomycorrhizal fungal community composition, demonstrating a convergence of the community towards dominance by a few closely related fungal taxa. Ectomycorrhizal fungi responded similarly to each of these stressors resulting in a predictable trajectory of community disassembly, consistent with ecological theory. Although we predicted that the fungal communities associated with trees stressed by drought, herbivory, competition, and parasitism would be poor mutualists, we found the opposite pattern in field studies. Our results suggest that climate change and the increased importance of herbivores, competitors, and parasites that can be associated with it, may ultimately lead to reductions in ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity, but that the remaining fungal community may be beneficial to host trees under the current climate and the warmer, drier climate predicted for the future. & copy ; 2014 Gehring, Mueller, Haskins, Rubow and Whitham.

AB - Plants and mycorrhizal fungi influence each other's abundance, diversity, and distribution. How other biotic interactions affect the mycorrhizal symbiosis is less well understood. Likewise, we know little about the effects of climate change on the fungal component of the symbiosis or its function. We synthesized our long-term studies on the influence of plant parasites, insect herbivores, competing trees, and drought on the ectomycorrhizal fungal communities associated with a foundation tree species of the southwestern United States, pinyon pine (Pinus edulis), and described how these changes feed back to affect host plant performance. We found that drought and all three of the biotic interactions studied resulted in similar shifts in ectomycorrhizal fungal community composition, demonstrating a convergence of the community towards dominance by a few closely related fungal taxa. Ectomycorrhizal fungi responded similarly to each of these stressors resulting in a predictable trajectory of community disassembly, consistent with ecological theory. Although we predicted that the fungal communities associated with trees stressed by drought, herbivory, competition, and parasitism would be poor mutualists, we found the opposite pattern in field studies. Our results suggest that climate change and the increased importance of herbivores, competitors, and parasites that can be associated with it, may ultimately lead to reductions in ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity, but that the remaining fungal community may be beneficial to host trees under the current climate and the warmer, drier climate predicted for the future. & copy ; 2014 Gehring, Mueller, Haskins, Rubow and Whitham.

KW - Climate change

KW - Community convergence

KW - Community disassembly

KW - Competition

KW - Drought

KW - Ectomycorrhizal fungi

KW - Herbivory

KW - Mistletoe parasitism

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84904888854&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84904888854&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00306

DO - 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00306

M3 - Article

VL - 5

JO - Frontiers in Microbiology

JF - Frontiers in Microbiology

SN - 1664-302X

IS - JUN

M1 - Article 306

ER -