Seven years of carbon dioxide enrichment, nitrogen fertilization and plant diversity influence arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in a grassland ecosystem

Anita Antoninka, Peter B. Reich, Nancy Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

91 Scopus citations


We tested the prediction that the abundance and diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are influenced by resource availability and plant community composition by examining the joint effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) enrichment, nitrogen (N) fertilization and plant diversity on AM fungi. We quantified AM fungal spores and extramatrical hyphae in 176 plots after 7 yr of treatment with all combinations of ambient or elevated CO2 (368 or 560 ppm), with or without N fertilization (0 or 4 g N m)2), and one (monoculture) or 16 host plant species (polyculture) in the BioCON field experiment at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, Minnesota, USA. Extramatrical hyphal lengths were increased by CO2 enrichment, whereas AM spore abundance decreased with N fertilization. Spore abundance, morphotype richness and extramatrical hyphal lengths were all greater in monoculture plots. A structural equation model showed AM fungal biovolume was most influenced by CO2 enrichment, plant community composition and plant richness, whereas spore richness was most influenced by fungal biovolume, plant community composition and plant richness. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi responded to differences in host community and resource availability, suggesting that mycorrhizal functions, such as carbon sequestration and soil stability, will be affected by global change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-446
Number of pages10
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011



  • Arbuscular mycorrhiza
  • CO2 enrichment
  • Community composition
  • Grassland
  • Niche partitioning hypothesis
  • Nitrogen fertilization
  • Plant richness
  • Structural equation model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Physiology

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