Taxi drivers: the role of animals in transporting mycorrhizal fungi

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Martina Vašutová, Piotr Mleczko, Alvaro Lopez Garcia, Irena Maček, Gergely Boros, Jan Ševčík, Saori Fujii, Davorka Hackenberger, Ivan H. Tuf, Elisabeth Hornung, Barna Páll-Gergely, Rasmus Kjøller

Dispersal of mycorrhizal fungi via animals and the importance for the interacting partners’ life history as well as for ecosystems is an understudied topic. In this review, we describe the available evidence and the most important knowledge gaps and finally suggest ways to gain the missing information. So far, 33 articles have been published proving a successful transfer of mycorrhizal propagules by animals. The vast majority of research on invertebrates was focused on arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, whereas papers on vertebrates (mainly rodents and artiodactyls) equally addressed ectomycorrhizal (ECM) and AM fungi. Effective dispersal has been mostly shown by the successful inoculation of bait plants and less commonly by spore staining or germination tests. Based on the available data and general knowledge on animal lifestyles, collembolans and oribatid mites may be important in transporting ECM fungal propagules by ectozoochory, whereas earthworms, isopods, and millipedes could mainly transfer AM fungal spores in their gut systems. ECM fungal distribution may be affected by mycophagous dipterans and their hymenopteran parasitoids, while slugs, snails, and beetles could transport both mycorrhizal groups. Vertebrates feeding on fruit bodies were shown to disperse mainly ECM fungi, while AM fungi are transported mostly accidentally by herbivores. The important knowledge gaps include insufficient information on dispersal of fungal propagules other than spores, the role of invertebrates in the dispersal of mycorrhizal fungi, the way in which propagules pass through food webs, and the spatial distances reached by different dispersal mechanisms both horizontally and vertically.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMycorrhiza
Number of pages22
ISSN0940-6360
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2019

    Research areas

  • Arbuscular mycorrhiza, Biodiversity, Dispersal, Ectomycorrhiza, Fungal traits, Zoochory

ID: 227043687