Mycorrhizal features and leaf traits covary at the community level during primary succession

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The mycorrhizal association between fungi and plants is thought to be an important component of the functional diversity of plant communities, although evidence is weak. We explored community-level changes to mycorrhizal features and leaf traits along a primary successional gradient on a sedimentation coast. We found that community weighted mean values of mycorrhizal features and leaf traits varied systematically along the successional series, representing a transition from communities dominated by more stress-tolerant plant species (less mycorrhizal colonization and lower specific leaf area) to less stress-tolerant plant species (higher mycorrhizal colonization and specific leaf area). Despite the co-variation in leaf traits and mycorrhizal features at the community level, only mycorrhizal features showed an increasing functional diversity with successional age. These results suggest that mycorrhizal fungi should not be forgotten in trait-based plant community ecology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFungal Ecology
Pages (from-to)4-11
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, Community assembly, Ecosystem development, Environmental filtering, Life history traits, Primary succession, Sand dunes, Symbiosis

ID: 211864954