Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi reduce the differences in competitiveness between dominant and subordinate plant species

Pierre Mariotte, Claire Meugnier, David Johnson, Aurelie Thébault, Thomas Spiegelberger, Alexandre Buttler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In grassland communities, plants can be classified as dominants or subordinates according to their relative abundances, but the factors controlling such distributions remain unclear. Here, we test whether the presence of the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus Glomus intraradices affects the competitiveness of two dominant (Taraxacum officinale and Agrostis capillaris) and two subordinate species (Prunella vulgaris and Achillea millefolium). Plants were grown in pots in the presence or absence of the fungus, in monoculture and in mixtures of both species groups with two and four species. In the absence of G. intraradices, dominants were clearly more competitive than subordinates. In inoculated pots, the fungus acted towards the parasitic end of the mutualism-parasitism continuum and had an overall negative effect on the growth of the plant species. However, the negative effects of the AM fungus were more pronounced on dominant species reducing the differences in competitiveness between dominant and subordinate species. The effects of G. intraradices varied with species composition highlighting the importance of plant community to mediate the effects of AM fungi. Dominant species were negatively affected from the AM fungus in mixtures, while subordinates grew identically with and without the fungus. Therefore, our findings predict that the plant dominance hierarchy may flatten out when dominant species are more reduced than subordinate species in an unfavourable AM fungal relationship (parasitism).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-277
Number of pages11
JournalMycorrhiza
Volume23
Issue number4
Early online date14 Oct 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

Fingerprint

competitiveness
mycorrhizal fungi
Glomus intraradices
Fungi
fungus
fungi
parasitism
Prunella vulgaris
Agrostis capillaris
Achillea millefolium
Taraxacum officinale
mutualism
Prunella
Agrostis
Taraxacum
Achillea
plant communities
Social Dominance
grasslands
plant growth

Keywords

  • competitive effects
  • glomus intraradices
  • grasslands
  • mutualism-parasitism
  • subordinate species
  • plant diversity
  • plant hierarchy

Cite this

Mariotte, P., Meugnier, C., Johnson, D., Thébault, A., Spiegelberger, T., & Buttler, A. (2013). Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi reduce the differences in competitiveness between dominant and subordinate plant species. Mycorrhiza, 23(4), 267-277. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00572-012-0465-8

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi reduce the differences in competitiveness between dominant and subordinate plant species. / Mariotte, Pierre; Meugnier, Claire; Johnson, David; Thébault, Aurelie; Spiegelberger, Thomas; Buttler, Alexandre.

In: Mycorrhiza, Vol. 23, No. 4, 05.2013, p. 267-277.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mariotte, P, Meugnier, C, Johnson, D, Thébault, A, Spiegelberger, T & Buttler, A 2013, 'Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi reduce the differences in competitiveness between dominant and subordinate plant species', Mycorrhiza, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 267-277. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00572-012-0465-8
Mariotte, Pierre ; Meugnier, Claire ; Johnson, David ; Thébault, Aurelie ; Spiegelberger, Thomas ; Buttler, Alexandre. / Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi reduce the differences in competitiveness between dominant and subordinate plant species. In: Mycorrhiza. 2013 ; Vol. 23, No. 4. pp. 267-277.
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