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Record number 534533
Title Lost in diversity: the interactions between soil-borne fungi, biodiversity and plant productivity
Author(s) Mommer, L.; Cotton, Anne; Raaijmakers, J.M.; Termorshuizen, A.J.; Ruijven, J. van; Hendriks, Marloes; Rijssel, Sophie van; Mortel, J.E. van de; Paauw, J.W.M. van der; Schijlen, E.G.W.M.; Smit-Tiekstra, Annemiek; Berendse, F.; Kroon, Hans de; Dumbrell, A.J.
Source New Phytologist 218 (2018)2. - ISSN 0028-646X - p. 542 - 553.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.15036
Department(s) Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology
PE&RC
PRI BIOS Applied Bioinformatics
WIMEK
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Abstract There is consensus that plant species richness enhances plant productivity within natural grasslands, but the underlying drivers remain debated. Recently, differential accumulation of soil-borne fungal pathogens across the plant diversity gradient has been proposed as a cause of this pattern. However, the below-ground environment has generally been treated as a 'black box' in biodiversity experiments, leaving these fungi unidentified. Using next generation sequencing and pathogenicity assays, we analysed the community composition of root-associated fungi from a biodiversity experiment to examine if evidence exists for host specificity and negative density dependence in the interplay between soil-borne fungi, plant diversity and productivity. Plant species were colonised by distinct (pathogenic) fungal communities and isolated fungal species showed negative, species-specific effects on plant growth. Moreover, 57% of the pathogenic fungal operational taxonomic units (OTUs) recorded in plant monocultures were not detected in eight plant species plots, suggesting a loss of pathogenic OTUs with plant diversity. Our work provides strong evidence for host specificity and negative density-dependent effects of root-associated fungi on plant species in grasslands. Our work substantiates the hypothesis that fungal root pathogens are an important driver of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships.
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