Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities in soils under three phytophysiognomies of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest


Acta Bot. Bras.




ABSTRACT Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) play an important role in plant community productivity and structure, and so studying the factors that affect the diversity and structure of this fungal community is important for understanding their ecology in tropical forests. We investigated AMF spore communities and root colonization under three forest phytophysiognomies (Restinga Forest, REF; Lowland Ombrophilous Dense Forest, LLF; and Montane Ombrophilous Dense Forest, MTF). Spore abundance was lowest in LLF and highest in REF, with no statistical differences relative to MTF. Spore diversity indices and root colonization rates were not statistically different among the phytophysiognomies. However, principal components analysis revealed that AMF community structure differed according to forest phytophysiognomy. Hierarchical partitioning analysis indicated that most of the AMF community variables were better explained by phytophysiognomy than by chemical and physical attributes of the soil. In addition to the plant community, clay content, pH, Boron, P, S and CEC best explained some of the AMF community variables. Thus, we conclude that while several factors determine AMF community structure in the Atlantic Forest, phytophysiognomy is the most significant.

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