Abstracts on Global Climate Change

Nov 2004

The response of two Glomus mycorrhizal fungi and a fine endophyte to elevated atmospheric CO2, soil warming and drought

Staddon, PL Gregersen, R Jakobsen, I


Plantago lanceolata plants were grown under various environmental conditions in association with the mycorrhizal fungi Glomus mosseae, G. caledonium and a fine endophyte either individually or all together. Using a time-course approach, we investigated the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 (eCO(2)), soil warming and drought and their interactions on root length colonized (RLC) by mycorrhizal fungi and extraradical mycorrhizal hyphal (EMH) production. Plant growth responded as would be expected to the environmental manipulations. There was no plant growth-independent effect of eCO(2) on mycorrhizal colonization; however, EMH production was stimulated by eCO(2), i.e. there was increased partitioning of below-ground carbon to the EMH. Soil warming directly stimulated both percent RLC by the Glomus species and EMH density; soil warming did not affect RLC by the fine endophyte. Drought decreased percent RLC for the fine endophyte, but not for the Glomus species. The presence of one mycorrhizal fungus did not affect the response of another to the environmental variables. There was no evidence of any interactive effects of the environmental variables on RLC, but there were significant environmental interactions on EMH production. In particular, the stimulatory effects of eCO(2) and soil warming on EMH density were not additive. The results are discussed in terms of the soil carbon cycle, highlighting some crucial gaps in our knowledge. If future environmental changes affect mycorrhizal fungal turnover and respiration, then this could have important implications for the terrestrial carbon cycle.

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