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Mycologia. 2006 May-Jun;98(3):374-83.

Spatial structure and richness of ectomycorrhizal fungi colonizing bioassay seedlings from resistant propagules in a Sierra Nevada forest: comparisons using two hosts that exhibit different seedling establishment patterns.

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  • 1Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, 321 Koshland Hall, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720-3102, USA.


In this study we analyzed the spatial structure of ectomycorrhizal fungi present in the soils as resistant propagules (e.g. spores or sclerotia) in a mixed-conifer forest in the Sierra Nevada, California. Soils were collected under old-growth Abies spp. stands across approximately 1 km and bioassayed with seedlings of hosts that establish best in stronger light (Pinus jeffreyi) or that are shade-tolerant (Abies concolor). Ectomycorrhizal fungi colonizing the roots were characterized with molecular techniques (ITSRFLP and DNA sequence analysis). Wilcoxina, five Rhizopogon species and Cenococcum were the most frequent of 17 detected species. No spatial structure was detected in the resistant propagule community as a whole, but P. jeffreyi seedlings had higher species richness and associated with seven Rhizopogon species that were not detected on A. concolor seedlings. We drew two conclusions from comparisons between this study and a prior study of the ectomycorrhizal community on mature trees in the same forest: (i) the resistant propagule community was considerably simpler and more homogeneous than the active resident community across the forest and (ii) Cenococcum and Wilcoxina species are abundant in both communities.

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