Complementarity in nutrient foraging strategies of absorptive fine roots and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi across 14 coexisting subtropical tree species

Bitao Liu, Hongbo Li, Biao Zhu, Roger T. Koide, David M. Eissenstat, Dali Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations

Abstract

In most cases, both roots and mycorrhizal fungi are needed for plant nutrient foraging. Frequently, the colonization of roots by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi seems to be greater in species with thick and sparsely branched roots than in species with thin and densely branched roots. Yet, whether a complementarity exists between roots and mycorrhizal fungi across these two types of root system remains unclear. We measured traits related to nutrient foraging (root morphology, architecture and proliferation, AM colonization and extramatrical hyphal length) across 14 coexisting AM subtropical tree species following root pruning and nutrient addition treatments. After root pruning, species with thinner roots showed more root growth, but lower mycorrhizal colonization, than species with thicker roots. Under multi-nutrient (NPK) addition, root growth increased, but mycorrhizal colonization decreased significantly, whereas no significant changes were found under nitrogen or phosphate additions. Moreover, root length proliferation was mainly achieved by altering root architecture, but not root morphology. Thin-root species seem to forage nutrients mainly via roots, whereas thick-root species rely more on mycorrhizal fungi. In addition, the reliance on mycorrhizal fungi was reduced by nutrient additions across all species. These findings highlight complementary strategies for nutrient foraging across coexisting species with contrasting root traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-136
Number of pages12
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume208
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Complementarity in nutrient foraging strategies of absorptive fine roots and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi across 14 coexisting subtropical tree species'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this