Back to overview

Forest tree growth is linked to mycorrhizal fungal composition and function across Europe

Most trees form symbioses with ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF) which influence access to growth-limiting soil resources. Mesocosm experiments repeatedly show that EMF species differentially affect plant development, yet whether these effects ripple up to influence the growth of entire forests remains unknown. Here we tested the effects of EMF composition and functional genes relative to variation in well-known drivers of tree growth by combining paired molecular EMF surveys with high-resolution forest inventory data across 15 European countries. We show that EMF composition was linked to a three-fold difference in tree growth rate even when controlling for the primary abiotic drivers of tree growth. Fast tree growth was associated with EMF communities harboring high inorganic but low organic nitrogen acquisition gene proportions and EMF which form contact versus medium-distance fringe exploration types. These findings suggest that EMF composition is a strong bio-indicator of underlying drivers of tree growth and/or that variation of forest EMF communities causes differences in tree growth. While it may be too early to assign causality or directionality, our study is one of the first to link fine-scale variation within a key component of the forest microbiome to ecosystem functioning at a continental scale.

Details

Type A1: Web of Science-article
Category Research
Magazine The ISME Journal
Language English
Bibtex

@book{a30de5e0-e710-40d9-901a-65aa255ce28a, title = "Forest tree growth is linked to mycorrhizal fungal composition and function across Europe", author = "Mark A. Anthony and Thomas W. Crowther and Sietse van der Linde and Laura M Suz and Martin I. Bidartondo and Filipa Cox and Marcus Schaub and Pasi Rautio and Marco Ferretti and Lars Vesterdal and Bruno De Vos and Mike Dettwiler and Nadine Eickenscheidt and Andreas Schmitz and Henning Meesenburg and Henning Andreae and Frank Jacob and Hans Peter Dietrich and Peter Waldner and Arthur Gessler and Beat Frey and Oliver Schramm and Pim van den Bulk and Arjan Hensen and Colin Averill", year = "2022", doi = "https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-021-01159-7", language = "English", series = "", publisher = "", number = "", address = "Belgiƫ", }

Authors

Mark A. Anthony
Thomas W. Crowther
Sietse van der Linde
Laura M Suz
Martin I. Bidartondo
Filipa Cox
Marcus Schaub
Pasi Rautio
Marco Ferretti
Lars Vesterdal
Bruno De Vos
Mike Dettwiler
Nadine Eickenscheidt
Andreas Schmitz
Henning Meesenburg
Henning Andreae
Frank Jacob
Hans Peter Dietrich
Peter Waldner
Arthur Gessler
Beat Frey
Oliver Schramm
Pim van den Bulk
Arjan Hensen
Colin Averill