Arbuscular mycorrhizal communities associated with maples (Acer spp.) in a common garden are influenced by season and host plant

Thorunn Helgason, Huyuan Feng, David J. Sherlock, J. Peter W. Young, Alastair H. Fitter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are ubiquitous biotrophic root endophytes that form a significant link in macronutrient cycles. The AM fungi occupy two niches simultaneously, the intraradical niche, from which they gain carbon, and the bulk soil. We predict that AM community structure will vary through time, depending upon season and plant identity. In this study, we compared the AM fungal community colonising eight species of Acer L. (maple) grown in an arboretum. DNA from root samples was analysed using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) of AM fungal sequences. Three time points were sampled during the growing season, and ordination analysis showed this was the most important factor discriminating the TRFLP profiles. Analysis of each month separately showed that the host species was a significant factor in all samplings, but that the response of each species through time was different. This study demonstrates the dynamic nature of AM communities, and the importance of sampling habitats throughout the season to generate a complete picture of the AM community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-326
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Early online date24 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Maple
  • Arbuscular mycorrhizas
  • Communities
  • Seasonality

Cite this