Vertical niche differentiation of ectomycorrhizal hyphae in soil as shown by T-RFLP analysis
Article first published online: 24 NOV 2002
Volume 156, Issue 3, pages 527–535, December 2002
How to Cite
Dickie, I. A., Xu, B. and Koide, R. T. (2002), Vertical niche differentiation of ectomycorrhizal hyphae in soil as shown by T-RFLP analysis. New Phytologist, 156: 527–535. doi: 10.1046/j.1469-8137.2002.00535.x
- Issue published online: 24 NOV 2002
- Article first published online: 24 NOV 2002
- Received: 17 June 2002 Accepted: 17 September 2002
- niche differentiation;
- spatial partitioning;
- ectomycorrhizal hyphae;
- fungal communities;
- soil DNA extraction;
- terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP)
- • Niche differentiation for different soil substrates has been proposed as a mechanism contributing to ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity. This hypothesis has been largely untestable because of a lack of techniques to study the in situ distribution of ectomycorrhizal hyphae.
- • We developed a technique involving soil DNA extraction, PCR and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis for species identification to investigate the vertical distribution of fungal hyphae in four distinct layers of the forest floor (lower litter, F-layer, H-layer, and B-horizon) of a Pinus resinosa plantation.
- • Fungal communities differed markedly among the four layers. Cluster analysis suggested six different patterns of resource utilization: litter-layer specialists, litter-layer generalists, F-layer, H-layer, and B-horizon species, and multilayer generalists. Known ectomycorrhizal species were found in all six clusters.
- • This spatial partitioning observed among ectomycorrhizal fungi along a single, relatively simple substrate-resource gradient supports the niche differentiation hypothesis as an important mechanism contributing to ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity.