Biomass and compositional responses of ectomycorrhizal fungal hyphae to elevated CO2 and nitrogen fertilization.
The extramatrical mycelia (EMM) of ectomycorrhizal fungi make up a large proportion of the microbial diversity and biomass in temperate forest soils. Thus, their response to elevated CO(2) can have large effects on plant nutrient acquisition and carbon movement through forests. Here, the effects of CO(2) and nitrogen (N) fertilization on EMM biomass and community structure in Pinus taeda forest plots were examined using sand-filled mesh bags buried in the field, the contents of which were analyzed by phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) and DNA sequencing. A total of 2138 sequences comprising 295 taxa were recovered; most (83.5%) were from ectomycorrhizal fungal taxa. No biomass increase was detected in elevated CO(2) plots relative to control plots, but individual taxa responded to both CO(2) and N fertilization, four of the six most abundant taxa were less frequent in N-fertilized plots. Thelephoroid and athelioid taxa were both frequent and abundant as EMM, and thelephoroid richness was extremely high. Russula and Cortinariaceae taxa were less abundant and boletoid taxa were more abundant as EMM relative to ectomycorrhizas. The EMM community, sampled across seasons and years, was dynamic with a high degree of interspecific variation in response to CO(2) enrichment and N fertilization.
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