Direct and indirect influences of 8 yr of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization on Glomeromycota in an alpine meadow ecosystem
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- •We measured the influences of soil fertility and plant community composition on Glomeromycota, and tested the prediction of the functional equilibrium hypothesis that increased availability of soil resources will reduce the abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi.
- •Communities of plants and AM fungi were measured in mixed roots and in Elymus nutans roots across an experimental fertilization gradient in an alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau.
- •As predicted, fertilization reduced the abundance of Glomeromycota as well as the species richness of plants and AM fungi. The response of the glomeromycotan community was strongly linked to the plant community shift towards dominance by Elymus nutans. A reduction in the extraradical hyphae of AM fungi was associated with both the changes in soil factors and shifts in the plant community composition that were caused by fertilization.
- •Our findings highlight the importance of soil fertility in regulating both plant and glomeromycotan communities, and emphasize that high fertilizer inputs can reduce the biodiversity of plants and AM fungi, and influence the sustainability of ecosystems.