Share the wealth: Trees with greater ectomycorrhizal species overlap share more carbon
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
The mutualistic symbiosis between forest trees and ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF) is among the most ubiquitous and successful interactions in terrestrial ecosystems. Specific species of EMF are known to colonize specific tree species, benefitting from their carbon source, and in turn, improving their access to soil water and nutrients. EMF also form extensive mycelial networks that can link multiple root-tips of different trees. Yet the number of tree species connected by such mycelial networks, and the traffic of material across them, are just now under study. Recently we reported substantial belowground carbon transfer between Picea, Pinus, Larix and Fagus trees in a mature forest. Here, we analyze the EMF community of these same individual trees and identify the most likely taxa responsible for the observed carbon transfer. Among the nearly 1,200 EMF root-tips examined, 50%–70% belong to operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that were associated with three or four tree host species, and 90% of all OTUs were associated with at least two tree species. Sporocarp 13C signals indicated that carbon originating from labelled Picea trees was transferred among trees through EMF networks. Interestingly, phylogenetically more closely related tree species exhibited more similar EMF communities and exchanged more carbon. Our results show that belowground carbon transfer is well orchestrated by the evolution of EMFs and tree symbiosis.
|Research areas and keywords||
Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY
|Number of pages||13|
|Early online date||2020|
|Publication status||Published - 2020 Jul|