How mycorrhizal associations drive plant population and community biology

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Science  21 Feb 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6480, eaba1223
DOI: 10.1126/science.aba1223

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  • RE: lack of critical information about interplant nutrient transfer through mycelial networks and the principles of carbon-to-nutrient exchange and trading in the mycorrhizal interface, as well as kin recognition and promotion

    According to Terrer, et al. (2017), "Plants typically allocate a considerable amount of C to their mycorrhizal symbionts, and this quantity varies with mycorrhizal type and nutrient availability" [citing Hobbie (2006); Shi, Fisher, Brzostek and Phillips (2016); Vicca, et al. (2012)].

    Interestingly, Tedersoo, Bahram and Zobel (2020) [citing Terrer, Vicca, Hungate, Phillips, and Prentice (2016)] note differences among mycorrhizal types in plant nutrient acquisition, soil C and nutrient cycling, and the capacity to protect against soil-borne pathogens having global-scale consequences for soil C sequestration and for mitigating N pollution and climate warming.

    See Biedrzycki, Jilany, Dudley and Bais (2010), File, Klironomos, Maherali, and Dudley (2012), Depuydt (2014), Palmer, et al. (2016) and Pickles, et al. (2017) related to interplant kin recognition and promotion.

    Interestingly, Tedersoo, Bahram and Zobel (2020) [citing Pickles, et al. (2017)] "In EcM plants, Pickles et al. demonstrated that relatively more C is transferred to kin than non-kin seedlings of Pseudotsuga menziesii by mycorrhizal networks. Although the mechanisms controlling carbon flow remain poorly understood, these results suggest that plants may be able to selectively provide their offspring with a competitive advantage in a way similar to promoting growth of root suckers in clonal plants. Enhancing kin seedlings relative to other conspecific seedlings may reduc...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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