Terrestrial vertebrates promote arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal diversity and inoculum potential in a rain forest soil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

We examined whether terrestrial vertebrates affected the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal spore communities and mycorrhizal inoculum potential (MIP) of a tropical rain forest soil by comparing plots where terrestrial vertebrates had been excluded for 3 years to adjacent control plots. We extracted spores from soil using sucrose density gradient centrifugation and assayed MIP by growing seedlings of maize (Zea mays) and a rain forest tree (Flindersia brayleana) in intact soil cores from exclosure and control plots. Control plots had significantly higher spore abundance, species richness and diversity than exclosures. Spore community composition also differed significantly between exclosure and control plots. Seedlings of both plant species grown in control cores had significantly higher arbuscular-mycorrhizal colonization than those grown in exclosure cores. This study suggests that loss of vertebrates could alter rates of mycorrhizal colonization with consequences for community and ecosystem properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-548
Number of pages9
JournalEcology Letters
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

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forest soils
forest soil
rain forests
spore
inoculum
vertebrate
spores
vertebrates
Flindersia
species diversity
colonization
fungal spores
seedlings
seedling
tropical rain forests
forest trees
soil
Zea mays
sucrose
community composition

Keywords

  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • Herbivory
  • Mycophagy
  • Mycorrhizal inoculum potential
  • Rain forest
  • Rodent
  • Spore dispersal
  • Terrestrial vertebrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Terrestrial vertebrates promote arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal diversity and inoculum potential in a rain forest soil. / Gehring, Catherine A; Wolf, Julie E.; Theimer, Tad.

In: Ecology Letters, Vol. 5, No. 4, 2002, p. 540-548.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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