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AM fungi patchiness and the clonal growth of Glechoma hederacea in heterogeneous environments

Abstract : The effect of AM fungi spatial distribution on individual plant development may determine the dynamics of the whole plant community. We investigated whether clonal plants display, like for other resources, a foraging or a specialization response, to adapt to the distribution of AM fungi. Two separate experiments were done to investigate the response of Glechoma hederacea to a heterogeneous distribution of a mixture of 3AM fungi species, and the effects of each species on colonization and allocation traits. No specialization and a limited foraging response to the heterogeneous distribution of AM fungi was observed. An effect of the AM fungal species on plant mass allocation and ramet production, but not on spacer length, was detected. Two possible explanations are proposed: (i) the plant’s responses are buffered by differences in individual effects of the fungal species or their root colonization intensity. (ii) the initial heterogeneous distribution of AM fungi is perceived as homogeneous by the plant either by reduced physiological integration or due to the transfer of AM fungi propagules through the stolons. Microscopic and DNA sequencing analyses provided evidence of this transfer, thus demonstrating the role of stolons as dispersal vectors of AM fungi within the plant clonal network.
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Nathan Vannier, Anne‐kristel Bittebière, Philippe Vandenkoornhuyse, Cendrine Mony. AM fungi patchiness and the clonal growth of Glechoma hederacea in heterogeneous environments. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, 6 (1), pp.37852. ⟨10.1038/srep37852⟩. ⟨hal-01432093⟩



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