Linking symbiont community structures in a model arbuscular mycorrhizal system


Author for correspondence:
James F. Meadow
Tel: +1 406 994 4227


  • The influence of plant communities on symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) communities is difficult to study in situ as both symbionts are strongly influenced by some of the same soil and environmental conditions, and thus we have a poor understanding of the potential links in community composition and structure between host and fungal communities.
  • AMF were characterized in colonized roots of thermal soil Mimulus guttatus in both isolated plants supporting AMF for only a few months of the growing season and plants growing in mixed plant communities composed of annual and perennial hosts. Cluster and discriminant analysis were used to compare competing models based on either communities or soil conditions.
  • Mimulus guttatus in adjacent contrasting plant community situations harbored distinct AMF communities with few fungal taxa occurring in both community types. Isolated plants harbored communities of fewer fungal taxa with lower diversity than plants in mixed communities. Host community type was more indicative than pH of AMF community structure.
  • Our results support an inherent relationship between host plant and AMF community structures, although pH-based models were also statistically supported.