The effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal and garlic mustard introductions on native AM fungal diversity
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Introduced, non-native organisms are of global concern, because biological invasions can negatively affect local communities. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal communities have not been well studied in this context. AM fungi are abundant in most soils, forming symbiotic root-associations with many plant species. Commercial AM fungal inocula are increasingly spread worldwide, because of potentially beneficial effects on plant growth. In contrast, some invasive plant species, such as the non-mycorrhizal Alliaria petiolata, can negatively influence AM fungi. In a greenhouse study we examined changes in the structure of a local Canadian AM fungal community in response to inoculation by foreign AM fungi and the manipulated presence/absence of A. petiolata. We expected A. petiolata to have a stronger effect on the local AM fungal community than the addition of foreign AM fungal isolates. Molecular analyses indicated that inoculated foreign AM fungi successfully established and decreased molecular diversity of the local AM fungal community in host roots. A. petiolata did not affect molecular diversity, but reduced AM fungal growth in the greenhouse study and in a in vitro assay. Our findings suggest that both introduced plants and exotic AM fungi can have negative impacts on local AM fungi.
KeywordsArbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) Glomus intraradices Inoculation Fungal invasion Community ecology Alliaria petiolata T-RFLP
We thank Michael Mucci and Lindsay Wilson for technical assistance. Isabelle Meusnier and the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario helped us with the T-RFLP analysis. A.M.K. was supported by fellowships from the Swiss National Science Foundation (PBLAA-114210 and PAOOA-119519) and the Roche Research Foundation. D.L.M. was supported by grants from National Science Foundation Ecology (0515904) and United States Department of Agriculture—Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (2005-35320-16267). We also thank the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for financial support.
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