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Science. 2016 Jul 1;353(6294):72-4. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf4610.

Mycorrhizal association as a primary control of the CO₂ fertilization effect.

Author information

1
AXA Chair Programme in Biosphere and Climate Impacts, Department of Life Sciences, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, Imperial College London, UK. c.terrer@imperial.ac.uk.
2
Centre of Excellence PLECO (Plant and Vegetation Ecology), Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium.
3
Center for Ecosystem Science and Society, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA. Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA.
4
Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.
5
AXA Chair Programme in Biosphere and Climate Impacts, Department of Life Sciences, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, Imperial College London, UK. Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, New South Wales 2109, Australia.

Abstract

Plants buffer increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations through enhanced growth, but the question whether nitrogen availability constrains the magnitude of this ecosystem service remains unresolved. Synthesizing experiments from around the world, we show that CO2 fertilization is best explained by a simple interaction between nitrogen availability and mycorrhizal association. Plant species that associate with ectomycorrhizal fungi show a strong biomass increase (30 ± 3%, P < 0.001) in response to elevated CO2 regardless of nitrogen availability, whereas low nitrogen availability limits CO2 fertilization (0 ± 5%, P = 0.946) in plants that associate with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. The incorporation of mycorrhizae in global carbon cycle models is feasible, and crucial if we are to accurately project ecosystem responses and feedbacks to climate change.

PMID:
27365447
DOI:
10.1126/science.aaf4610
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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