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Keywords:

  • ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF);
  • Hebeloma;
  • Inocybe;
  • Laccaria;
  • primary succession;
  • Russula;
  • Scleroderma;
  • spore germination

Summary

  • • 
    The spores of ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF) play critical roles in the population and community development of EMF. Here, the germination and infectivity of EMF spores are examined with reference to the ecological traits of the EMF species.
  • • 
    Spores were collected from 12 EMF species, whose successional patterns have been studied in the volcanic desert on Mount Fuji, Japan. Spore germination experiments were conducted with host plants (Salix reinii), with nonhost plants (Polygonum cuspidatum), and without plants. The mycorrhizal formation ability of spores was also examined in seven EMF using spore inoculation experiments. To determine the effects of the spore preservation period, both experiments were repeated up to 1 yr after spore collection.
  • • 
    Spore germination was very low in the absence of host plants. In the presence of hosts, even 30 d after spore collection, spore germination was significantly enhanced in all pioneer EMF (c. 20%) but less so in late-stage EMF (< 5%), except in Hebeloma species. Mycorrhizal formation from spores was also greater in pioneer EMF but was significantly reduced by 1 yr of spore preservation.
  • • 
    High spore germination and infectivity of pioneer EMF should enable these species to colonize disturbed and isolated areas in accordance with their ecological traits.