Ectomycorrhizal host specificity in a changing world: can legacy effects explain anomalous current associations?

Lotus Lofgren, Nhu H Nguyen, Peter G Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite the importance of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi in forest ecosystems, knowledge about the ecological and co-evolutionary mechanisms underlying ECM host associations remains limited. Using a widely distributed group of ECM fungi known to form tight associations with trees in the family Pinaceae, we characterized host specificity among three unique Suillus–host species pairs using a combination of field root tip sampling and experimental bioassays. We demonstrate that the ECM fungus S. subaureus can successfully colonize Quercus hosts in both field and glasshouse settings, making this species unique in an otherwise Pinaceae-specific clade. Importantly, however, we found that the colonization of Quercus by S. subaureus required co-planting with a Pinaceae host. While our experimental results indicate that gymnosperms are required for the establishment of new S. subaureus colonies, Pineaceae hosts are locally absent at both our field sites. Given the historical presence of Pineaceae hosts before human alteration, it appears the current S. subaureus–Quercus associations represent carryover from past host presence. Collectively, our results suggest that patterns of ECM specificity should be viewed not only in light of current forest community composition, but also as a legacy effect of host community change over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1273-1284
Number of pages12
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume220
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Fingerprint

Pinaceae
Host Specificity
host specificity
Quercus
Fungi
Gymnosperms
Meristem
Pedigree
Biological Assay
Ecosystem
fungi
forest communities
root tips
forest ecosystems
bioassays
planting
Forests
greenhouses

Keywords

  • Suillus
  • ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi
  • host specificity
  • legacy effects
  • neighborhood effects

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Cite this

Ectomycorrhizal host specificity in a changing world : can legacy effects explain anomalous current associations? / Lofgren, Lotus; Nguyen, Nhu H; Kennedy, Peter G.

In: New Phytologist, Vol. 220, No. 4, 01.12.2018, p. 1273-1284.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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