Alnus rubra (Bong.) nodule spore type distribution in southwestern British Columbia

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Abstract

In red alder (Alnus rubra Bong.) the nitrogen fixing actinomycete Frankia can be divided into strains which form spores (sp+) within nodules and those that do not. Red alder nodules were collect from 42 sites in southwestern British Columbia and their spore type was determined. Sp+ nodules were found in 18 of the sites, where their proportion ranged from 4 to 93%. The distribution of sites with sp+ nodules was clumped, with significant autocorrelation at the 0–10 km interval. No sp+ nodules were found in any of the eight stands in the submaritime region, indicating a possible continentality effect on spore type distribution. There was a significant positive association between the presence of Rubus spectabilis and the presence sp+ nodules. Stand and soil chemical variables were generally poor predictors of the proportion of sp+ nodules, although total soil nitrogen and exchangeable phosphorus accounted for 36.4 and 28.5% respectively, of the variation in the proportion of sp+ nodules on sites where they were present. There was also a small but significant negative relation between soil pH and the proportion of sp+ nodules and young stands generally did not have any sp+ nodules.

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