Impacts of elevated atmospheric CO2 on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and their role in moderating plant allometric partitioning

Adam Frew, Jodi N. Price, Jane Oja, Martti Vasar, Maarja Öpik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration (eCO2) effects on plants depend on several factors including plant photosynthetic physiology (e.g. C3, C4), soil nutrient availability and plants’ co-evolved soil-dwelling fungal symbionts, namely arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Complicated interactions among these components will determine the outcomes for plants. Therefore, clearer understanding is needed of how plant growth and nutrient uptake, along with root-colonising AM fungal communities, are simultaneously impacted by eCO2. We conducted a factorial growth chamber experiment with a C3 and a C4 grass species (± AM fungi and ± eCO2). We found that eCO2 increased plant biomass allocation towards the roots, but only in plants without AM fungi, potentially associated with an eCO2-driven increase in plant nutrient requirements. Furthermore, our data suggest a difference in the identities of root-colonising fungal taxa between ambient CO2 and eCO2 treatments, particularly in the C4 grass species, although this was not statistically significant. As AM fungi are ubiquitous partners of grasses, their response to increasing atmospheric CO2 is likely to have important consequences for how grassland ecosystems respond to global change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-430
Number of pages8
JournalMycorrhiza
Volume31
Issue number3
Early online date05 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

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