Production dynamics of Cenococcum geophilum ectomycorrhizas in response to long-term elevated CO2 and N fertilization

M. Luke McCormack, Christopher W. Fernandez, Hope Brooks, Seth G. Pritchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Ectomycorrhizal fungi are important in many forest ecosystems, yet their production dynamics and responses to environmental changes are poorly understood. Cenococcum geophilum is a common ectomycorrhizal fungus important to plant and forest soil biogeochemical cycles. The seasonal and inter-annual patterns of production and persistence of mycorrhizas formed by C. geophilum in a pine forest exposed to elevated atmospheric CO2 and nitrogen fertilization were monitored using a 12 y minirhizotron dataset. Production of C. geophilum mycorrhizas was distinctly seasonal and peaked in late summer/autumn. Elevated CO2 generally increased production while nitrogen fertilization strongly decreased production. Persistence times of C. geophilum mycorrhizas was ca. 2.7 y and was unaffected by CO2 and nitrogen addition. Total production was greater in shallow soil (0–16 cm) but persistence was longer in deeper soil (17–32 cm). These observations provide insights into the autecology of C. geophilum and suggest that its tissues may be slow to decompose compared to other ectomycorrhizal species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalFungal Ecology
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank R. Oren, and R. Nettles for maintenance of the FACE experiment. We are grateful for the helpful suggestions from two anonymous reviewers and to Professor Lynne Boddy. We are also grateful to the Kennedy Lab at UMN for their support and inspiration. This research was supported by the Office of Science (BER), U.S. Department of Energy, Grant No. DE-FG02-95ER62083.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd and British Mycological Society


  • Ascomycetes
  • Ectomycorrhizal fungi
  • Forest ecosystem
  • Free-air-CO-enrichment (FACE)
  • Global change
  • Lifespan
  • Melanin
  • Minirhizotron
  • Phenology
  • Soil ecology


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