Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities and root colonisation differ in relation to plant host and soil nutrients

Erla Olsen


    Field samples from two coexisting plant species were examined to see whether they were colonised by distinct fungal communities, and whether the colonisation pattern differed between the two plant species.

    Two plant species, Agrostis capillaris and Ranunculus acris from four mountain slopes in the Faroe Islands were examined for percentage root length colonisation (%RLC) including the amount of arbuscules and vesicles, and the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal types in the roots identified by cloning and sequencing.

    Fewer AM fungal types were found in Ranunculus acris than in Agrostis capillaris, but the %RLC was greater in Ranunculus acris, which also showed seasonal variability. Vesicles were more abundant in Ranunculus acris.

    Statistical analysis suggested that the AM fungal communities colonising the two plant species were distinct. The root colonisation in Ranunculus acris responded to other soil nutrients than the root colonisation in Agrostis capillaris.


host specificity, soil nutrients

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