Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Higher host plant specialization of root-associated endophytes than mycorrhizal fungi along an arctic elevational gradient

Abrego, Nerea; Huotari, Tea; Tack, Ayco J. M.; Lindahl, Bjorn D.; Tikhonov, Gleb; Somervuo, Panu; Schmidt, Niels Martin; Ovaskainen, Otso; Roslin, Tomas;

Abstract

How community-level specialization differs among groups of organisms, and changes along environmental gradients, is fundamental to understanding the mechanisms influencing ecological communities. In this paper, we investigate the specialization of root-associated fungi for plant species, asking whether the level of specialization varies with elevation. For this, we applied DNA barcoding based on the ITS region to root samples of five plant species equivalently sampled along an elevational gradient at a high arctic site. To assess whether the level of specialization changed with elevation and whether the observed patterns varied between mycorrhizal and endophytic fungi, we applied a joint species distribution modeling approach. Our results show that host plant specialization is not environmentally constrained in arctic root-associated fungal communities, since there was no evidence for changing specialization with elevation, even if the composition of root-associated fungal communities changed substantially. However, the level of specialization for particular plant species differed among fungal groups, root-associated endophytic fungal communities being highly specialized on particular host species, and mycorrhizal fungi showing almost no signs of specialization. Our results suggest that plant identity affects associated mycorrhizal and endophytic fungi differently, highlighting the need of considering both endophytic and mycorrhizal fungi when studying specialization in root-associated fungal communities.

Keywords

Arctic; elevation gradient; endophytic fungi; joint species distribution model; mycorrhizal network; specialization

Published in

Ecology and Evolution

2020, volume: 10, number: 16, pages: 8989-9002
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Abrego, Nerea
Norwegian Univ Sci and Technol
Huotari, Tea
Univ Helsinki
Tack, Ayco J. M.
Stockholm Univ
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Tikhonov, Gleb
Univ Helsinki
Somervuo, Panu
Univ Helsinki
Schmidt, Niels Martin
Aarhus Univ
Ovaskainen, Otso
Univ Helsinki
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
University of Helsinki

UKÄ Subject classification

Ecology

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6604

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/107253