Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Community in Roots and Nitrogen Uptake Patterns of Understory Trees Beneath Ectomycorrhizal and Non-ectomycorrhizal Overstory Trees

Chikae Tatsumi, Fujio Hyodo, Takeshi Taniguchi, Weiyu Shi, Keisuke Koba, Keitaro Fukushima, Sheng Du, Norikazu Yamanaka, Pamela Templer, Ryunosuke Tateno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Nitrogen (N) is an essential plant nutrient, and plants can take up N from several sources, including via mycorrhizal fungal associations. The N uptake patterns of understory plants may vary beneath different types of overstory trees, especially through the difference in their type of mycorrhizal association (arbuscular mycorrhizal, AM; or ectomycorrhizal, ECM), because soil mycorrhizal community and N availability differ beneath AM (non-ECM) and ECM overstory trees (e.g., relatively low nitrate content beneath ECM overstory trees). To test this hypothesis, we examined six co-existing AM-symbiotic understory tree species common beneath both AM-symbiotic black locust (non-ECM) and ECM-symbiotic oak trees of dryland forests in China. We measured AM fungal community composition of roots and natural abundance stable isotopic composition of N (δ15N) in plant leaves, roots, and soils. The root mycorrhizal community composition of understory trees did not significantly differ between beneath non-ECM and ECM overstory trees, although some OTUs more frequently appeared beneath non-ECM trees. Understory trees beneath non-ECM overstory trees had similar δ15N values in leaves and soil nitrate, suggesting that they took up most of their nitrogen as nitrate. Beneath ECM overstory trees, understory trees had consistently lower leaf than root δ15N, suggesting they depended on mycorrhizal fungi for N acquisition since mycorrhizal fungi transfer isotopically light N to host plants. Additionally, leaf N concentrations in the understory trees were lower beneath ECM than the non-ECM overstory trees. Our results show that, without large differences in root mycorrhizal community, the N uptake patterns of understory trees vary between beneath different overstory trees.

Original languageEnglish
Article number583585
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 14 2021

Keywords

  • N natural abundance
  • arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • dryland
  • ectomycorrhizal fungi (ECM fungi)
  • mycorrhizal dependence
  • nitrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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