Diversity and specificity of ectomycorrhizal fungi retrieved from an old-growth Mediterranean forest dominated by Quercus ilex

Authors

  • F. Richard,

    Corresponding author
    1. UMR 5174 Evolution et Diversité Biologique, Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, 118 Route de Narbonne, 31062 Toulouse Cedex 4, France;
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  • S. Millot,

    1. UMR 5174 Evolution et Diversité Biologique, Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, 118 Route de Narbonne, 31062 Toulouse Cedex 4, France;
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  • M. Gardes,

    1. UMR 5174 Evolution et Diversité Biologique, Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, 118 Route de Narbonne, 31062 Toulouse Cedex 4, France;
    2. These two authors contributed equally to the supervision of this work.
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  • M-A. Selosse

    1. UMR 5175 Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, Equipe Co-évolution, 1919 Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier cédex 5, France;
    2. These two authors contributed equally to the supervision of this work.
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Author for correspondence: Franck Richard Tel: +33 495460130 Fax: +33 495610431 Email: richard.fran@wanadoo.fr

Summary

  • • We analysed the ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal diversity in a Mediterranean old-growth Quercus ilex forest stand from Corsica (France), where Arbutus unedo was the only other ECM host.
  • • On a 6400 m2 stand, we investigated whether oak age and host species shaped below-ground ECM diversity. Ectomycorrhizas were collected under Q. ilex individuals of various ages (1 yr seedlings; 3–10 yr saplings; old trees) and A. unedo. They were typed by ITS–RFLP analysis and identified by match to RFLP patterns of fruitbodies, or by sequencing.
  • • A diversity of 140 taxa was found among 558 ectomycorrhizas, with many rare taxa. Cenococcum geophilum dominated (35% of ECMs), as well as Russulaceae, Cortinariaceae and Thelephoraceae. Fungal species richness was comparable above and below ground, but the two levels exhibited < 20% overlap in fungal species composition.
  • • Quercus ilex age did not strongly shape ECM diversity. The two ECM hosts, A. unedo and Q. ilex, tended to share few ECM species (< 15% of the ECM diversity). Implications for oak forest dynamics are discussed.

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