Feedbacks of Soil Inoculum of Mycorrhizal Fungi Altered by N Deposition on the Growth of a Native Shrub and an Invasive Annual Grass

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Anthropogenic nitrogen (N) deposition causes shifts in vegetation types as well as species composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and other soil microorganisms. A greenhouse experiment was done to determine whether there are feedbacks between N-altered soil inoculum and growth of a dominant native shrub and an invasive grass species in southern California. The region is experiencing large-scale loss of Artemisia californica shrublands and replacement by invasive annual grasses under N deposition. Artemisia californica and Bromus madritensis ssp. rubens were grown with soil inoculum from experimental plots in a low N deposition site that had (1) N-fertilized and (2) unfertilized soil used for inoculum, as well as (3) high-N soil inoculum from a site exposed to atmospheric N deposition for four decades. All treatments plus a nonmycorrhizal control were given two levels of N fertilizer solution. A. californica biomass was reduced by each of the three inocula compared to uninoculated controls under at least one of the two N fertilizer solutions. The inoculum from the N-deposition site caused the greatest growth depressions. By contrast, B. madritensis biomass increased with each of the three inocula under at least one, or both, of the N solutions. The different growth responses of the two plant species may be related to the types of AM fungal colonization. B. madritensis was mainly colonized by a fine mycorrhizal endophyte, while A. californica had primarily coarse endophytes. Furthermore, A. californica had a high level of septate, nonmycorrhizal root endophytes, while B. madritensis overall had low levels of these endophytes. The negative biomass response of A. californica seedlings to high N-deposition inoculum may in part explain its decline; a microbially-mediated negative feedback may occur in this system that causes poor seedling growth and establishment of A. californica in sites subject to N deposition and B. madritensis invasion.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles