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University of Puget Sound

Publication Date

Spring 2012

Program Name

Australia: Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology

Abstract

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) may be critical to the restoration of ecosystem function in old-fields. Whether the diversity of the plant community is promoted by the AMF community or is the driving force of AMF diversity is unknown. We investigated two questions in the context of old-field restoration in southwestern Australia: 1) Does restoration of the plant community achieve the restoration of AMF and 2) Is AMF species diversity and abundance influenced by the plant species composition? Our study sites were located in the Ridgefield Experiment in the University of Western Australia’s “Future Farm”. Soil samples were collected from beneath York gum trees (Eucalyptus loxophleba subsp. loxophleba) in restored sites of varying plant species diversity and York gums in adjacent remnants. A total of 36 samples (nine per experimental treatment) were collected. AMF spores were extracted from each sample via centrifugation-sugar flotation method and examined under a dissecting microscope. Mean spore abundance of bare plot soils (331 spores/100 g soil ± 100 spores (S.E)) differed significantly from the abundances of the other three treatment soils (ANOVA, p=0.04). AMF species richness and Shannon-Wiener diversity indices did not differ significantly among treatments. Differences in mean percent abundance of individual species were observed. We conclude that AMF species can be found in restored plant communities of old-fields and that the restoration of the AMF community in old-fields will likely depend on the restoration of the plant community in conjunction with the restoration of other abiotic factors.

Disciplines

Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Soil Science | Sustainability

 

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