Total fungal biomass, the biomass of ectomycorrhizal and ericoid mycorrhizal (EM + ErM), and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, as well as the production of EM and AM fungi, were estimated in coniferous forest soils along four natural nutrient gradients. Plant community changes, forest productivity, soil pH and N availability increase over relatively short distances (< 100 m) along the gradients. The amounts of the phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) 18 : 2omega6,9 were used to estimate total fungi (not including AM), and the PLFA 16 : 1omega5 to estimate AM fungi in soil samples. The decrease in the PLFA 18 : 2omega6,9 during incubation of soils was used to estimate EM + ErM biomass. Production of AM and EM mycorrhiza was estimated using ingrowth mesh bags. Total fungal biomass was highest in soils with the lowest nutrient availability and tree productivity. Biomass of ErM + EM was also highest in these soils. We found tendencies that EM mycelial production was lowest in the soils with the highest nutrient availability and tree productivity. Production of AM fungi was highest in nutrient-rich soils with high pH. Our results suggest that mycorrhizal communities change from being ErM-, to EM- and finally to AM-dominated along these gradients. The observed changes in mycorrhizal type in the short nutrient gradients follow similar patterns to those suggested for altitudinal or latitudinal gradients over longer distances.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Biological Sciences