J Plant Ecol ›› 2020, Vol. 13 ›› Issue (4): 478-488.DOI: 10.1093/jpe/rtaa037

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Diverse plant mixtures sustain a greater arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi spore viability than monocultures after 12 years

Peter Dietrich1,2,3,4, *, Christiane Roscher3,4, Adam Thomas Clark3,4 , Nico Eisenhauer4,5 , Bernhard Schmid2,6 and Cameron Wagg2,7   

  1. 1 Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Dornburger Strasse 159, 07743 Jena, Germany, 2 Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland, 3 Department of Physiological Diversity, UFZ, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Permoserstrasse 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany, 4 German Centre of Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103 Leipzig, Germany, 5 Institute of Biology, Leipzig University, Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103 Leipzig, Germany, 6 Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland, 7 Fredericton Research and Development Center, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 850 Lincoln Road, Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 1P9, Canada

    *Corresponding author. E-mail: peter.dietrich@idiv.de
  • Received:2020-06-02 Accepted:2020-06-23 Online:2020-06-29 Published:2020-08-01



Intensive land management practices can compromise soil biodiversity, thus jeopardizing long-term soil productivity. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) play a pivotal role in promoting soil productivity through obligate symbiotic associations with plants. However, it is not clear how properties of plant communities, especially species richness and composition influence the viability of AMF populations in soils.


Here we test whether monocultures of eight plant species from different plant functional groups, or a diverse mixture of plant species, maintain more viable AMF propagules. To address this question, we extracted AMF spores from 12-year old plant monocultures and mixtures and paired single AMF spores with single plants in a factorial design crossing AMF spore origin with plant species identity.

Important Findings

AMF spores from diverse plant mixtures were more successful at colonizing multiple plant species and plant individuals than AMF spores from plant monocultures. Furthermore, we found evidence that AMF spores originating from diverse mixtures more strongly increased biomass than AMF from monocultures in the legume Trifolium repens L. AMF viability and ability to interact with many plant species were greater when AMF spores originated from 12-year old mixtures than monocultures. Our results show for the first time that diverse plant communities can sustain AMF viability in soils and demonstrate the potential of diverse plant communities to maintain viable AMF propagules that are a key component to soil health and productivity.

Key words: aboveground, belowground interactions, biodiversity, biomass production, mutualism, plant, AMF interaction, root colonization


密集的土地管理可能损害土壤生物多样性,从而危害长期的土壤生产力。丛枝菌根真菌(AMF)通过与植物专一性的共生关系,在促进土壤生产力方面发挥着关键作用。然而,目前尚不清楚植物群落的性质,特别是植物物种丰富度和组成如何影响土壤中AMF种群的生存能力。本研究中,我们测试了来自不同植物功能类群的8种植物的单一栽培和不同植物的混合种植,是否可以维持更有活力的AMF繁殖体。为了回答这个问题,我们从12年的单种植物和混种植物中提取AMF孢子,并通过因子设计将单株AMF孢子与单株植物配对,并考察与AMF孢子来源和植物物种特性的交互作用。研究结果表明,不同植物混合种植的AMF孢子比单一栽培的AMF孢子更能成功地定植于多种植物和植株个体中。此外,我们还发现,来自不同混合种植的AMF孢子比来自单一栽培的AMF更能显著提高白车轴草(Trifolium repens L.)的生物量。 与单一栽培相比,起源于不同植物混合种植的AMF孢子的生存能力和与多种植物相互作用的能力更强。我们的研究结果首次表明,多样的植物群落可以维持土壤中AMF的活力,也证明了多样的植物群落有潜力维持AMF繁殖体的活力对土壤健康和生产力至关重要。

关键词: 地上-地下相互作用, 生物多样性, 生物量生产, 互惠共生, 植物-丛枝菌根真菌相互作用, 根系定植