Melo, C.D., Walker, C., Krüger, C., Borges, P.A.V., Luna, S., Mendonça, D., Fonseca, H.M.A.C. & Machado, A.C. (2019) Environmental factors driving arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities associated with endemic woody plant Picconia azorica on native forest of Azores.Annals of Microbiology, 69(13), 1309-1327. DOI:10.1007/s13213-019-01535-x (IF2019 1,528; Q4 Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology)
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) play important key roles in the soil ecosystems as they link plants to the root-inaccessible part of soil. The aims of this study were to investigate which environmental factors influence the spatial and temporal structuring of AMF communities associated to Picconia azorica in two Azorean islands (Terceira and São Miguel islands), and investigate the seasonal variation in AMF communities between the two islands.
Communities of AMF associated with P. azorica in native forest of two Azorean islands (Terceira and São Miguel) were characterised by spore morphology or molecular analysis.
Forty-five AMF spore morphotypes were detected from the four fragments of P. azorica forest representing nine families of AMF. Acaulosporaceae (14) and Glomeraceae (9) were the most abundant families. AMF density and root colonisation varied significantly between islands and sampling sites. Root colonisation and spore density exhibited temporal patterns, which peaked in spring and were higher in Terceira than in São Miguel. The relative contribution of environmental factors showed that factors such as elevation, relative air humidity, soil pH, and soil available P, K, and Mg influenced AMF spore production and root colonisation.
Different sporulation patterns exhibited by the members of the commonest families suggested different life strategies. Adaptation to a particular climatic and soil condition and host phenologymay explain seasonal differences in sporulation patterns. Cohorts of AMF associated to P. azorica are shaped by regional processes including environmental filters such as soil properties and natural disturbance.