In order to clarify the functional role of individual ectomycorrhizal (EcM) fungal species in the field, we need to relate their abundance and distribution as mycorrhizas to their abundance and distribution as extramatrical mycelium (EMM).
We divided each of four 20 cm x 20 cm x 2 cm slices of pine forest soil into 100 cubes of 2 cm x 2 cm. For each cube, ectomycorrhizas were identified and the presence of EMM of the EcM fungi recorded as ectomycorrhizas was determined by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis of ITS rDNA.
Ectomycorrhizas and EMM of seven EcM species were mapped. Spatial segregation of mycorrhizas and EMM was evident and some species produced their EMM in different soil layers from their mycorrhizas.
The spatial relationship between mycorrhizas and their EMM generally conformed to their reported exploration types, but EMM of smooth types (e.g. Lactarius rufus) was more frequent than expected. Different EcM fungi foraged at different spatial scales.
- ectomycorrhizal communities
- extramatrical mycelium
- spatial ecology
- FUNGAL COMMUNITY
- SOIL MICROCOSMS