Wide geographical and ecological distribution of nitrogen and carbon gains from fungi in pyroloids and monotropoids (Ericaceae) and in orchids
Article first published online: 5 APR 2007
Volume 175, Issue 1, pages 166–175, July 2007
How to Cite
Zimmer, K., Hynson, N. A., Gebauer, G., Allen, E. B., Allen, M. F. and Read, D. J. (2007), Wide geographical and ecological distribution of nitrogen and carbon gains from fungi in pyroloids and monotropoids (Ericaceae) and in orchids. New Phytologist, 175: 166–175. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2007.02065.x
- Issue published online: 5 APR 2007
- Article first published online: 5 APR 2007
- Received: 9 February 2007Accepted: 12 February 2007
- carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) nutrition;
- partial and full myco-heterotrophy;
- stable isotopes.
- • Stable isotope abundance analyses recently revealed that some European green orchids and pyroloids (Ericaceae) are partially myco-heterotrophic, exploiting mycorrhizal fungi for organic carbon and nitrogen. Here we investigate related species to assess their nutritional mode across various forest and climate types in Germany and California.
- • C- and N-isotope signatures of five green pyroloids, three green orchids and several obligate myco-heterotrophic species (including the putatively fully myco-heterotrophic Pyrola aphylla) were analysed to quantify the green plants’ nutrient gain from their fungal partners and to investigate the constancy of enrichment in 13C and 15N of fully myco-heterotrophic plants from diverse taxa and locations relative to neighbouring autotrophic plants.
- • All green pyroloid and one orchid species showed significant 15N enrichment, confirming incorporation of fungi-derived N compounds while heterotrophic C gain was detected only under low irradiance in Orthilia secunda. Pyrola aphylla had an isotope signature equivalent to those of fully myco-heterotrophic plants.
- • It is demonstrated that primarily N gain from mycorrhizal fungi occurred in all taxonomic groups investigated across a wide range of geographical and ecological contexts. The 13C and 15N enrichment of obligate myco-heterotrophic plants relative to accompanying autotrophic plants turned out as a fairly constant parameter.