, Volume 28, Issue 7, pp 587–603 | Cite as

Biogeography of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (Glomeromycota): a phylogenetic perspective on species distribution patterns

  • Sidney L. StürmerEmail author
  • James D. Bever
  • Joseph B. Morton
Original Article


Information on the biogeography of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) is important because this group of obligately symbiotic soil microbes is a ubiquitous and functionally critical component of terrestrial ecosystems. In this paper, we utilize a biogeography database summarizing data on AMF species distribution linked to geographic and environmental conditions to describe global distribution patterns and interpret these patterns within a phylogenetic perspective. The data were obtained from accessions in living culture collections (INVAM, CICG), species descriptions, and other published literature from 1960 to 2012. The database contains 7105 records, 6396 of them from 768 published papers and the remaining 709 from culture accessions. Glomeromycotan species were recorded in all seven continents, 87 countries, 11 biogeographical realms, and 14 biomes. The distribution of families differed among climatic zones and continents, but they, together with all genera, appear to be cosmopolitan. Distribution of AMF species shows a slight decrease from low to high latitudes, but this decrease is steeper in the southern than in the northern hemisphere. A total of 189 species is shared between ancient supercontinents Gondwana and Laurasia and 78 species are common to all climatic zones. Ninety-five species (43% of the total) have known cosmopolitan distribution, including members of all genera except Redeckera. Some species have disjunct distribution and 26% of species have been registered from only one continent. Data on AMF distribution challenge the “Everything is everywhere” hypothesis in favor of the “moderate endemicity model” for species distribution. Data from this study provide a foundation to formulate and test hypotheses of biogeographic patterns and processes in Glomeromycota.


Ancient continents Climatic zones EiE hypothesis Moderate endemicity model Patterns of distribution Species distribution 



SLS thanks the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnológico (CNPq) Brazil for a Research Assistantship (Process 309.163/2015-3) and Universidade Regional de Blumenau (FURB) for supporting a sabbatical leave at the University of Kansas. JDB thanks the U.S. National Science Foundation (grant 1556664) for funding. JBM thanks the U.S. National Science Foundation (grant DBI0650735) for funding. We are indebted to Paolo Moser for guidance in statistical analysis. We thank Karl Kemmelmeier, Camille Delavaux, and Robert Ramos for suggestions and discussion of the manuscript. We are indebted to Caroline Krug Vieira for editing Table S1.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Ciências NaturaisUniversidade Regional de BlumenauBlumenauBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Kansas Biological SurveyThe University of KansasLawrenceUSA
  3. 3.West Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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