Community dynamics of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in a temperate tree-based intercropping system

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Community dynamics of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in a temperate tree-based intercropping system

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dc.contributor.advisor Klironomos, John
dc.contributor.advisor Gordon, Andrew
dc.contributor.author Bainard, Luke
dc.date 2011-09-09
dc.date.accessioned 2011-09-13T19:01:00Z
dc.date.available 2011-09-13T19:01:00Z
dc.date.issued 2011-09-13
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10214/2980
dc.description.abstract Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are an important component of agricultural ecosystems, and can directly influence the productivity of these systems. Unfortunately, conventional agricultural practices have been shown to adversely affect AM fungi. The use of more ecologically sustainable agricultural practices such as tree-based intercropping (TBI) may have the potential to reduce the negative impact of agricultural practices on AM fungi. The objectives of this thesis were to determine (1) if trees influence the structuring of AM fungal communities, (2) if TBI systems support a more diverse AM fungal community compared to conventional monocropping (CM) systems, and (3) if differences in AM fungal richness and composition between the two cropping systems have a functional effect on the growth of crops. Molecular analysis of the AM fungal community in the TBI system revealed 17 phylotypes that all belonged to the family Glomeraceae. Differences in richness and composition among the treatments indicated that trees had an effect on the structuring of AM fungal communities. Intercropping alleys adjacent to white ash and poplar tree rows had a significantly (P < 0.05) richer and different AM fungal community compared to intercropping alleys adjacent to Norway spruce tree rows. When comparing TBI and CM systems, AM fungal abundance was not significantly (P > 0.05) different between the two cropping systems. However, differences in both richness and community composition of AM fungi were observed between the two cropping systems. The TBI system had a significantly higher AM fungal richness and contained several taxa not found in the CM system. Controlled greenhouse experiments revealed that differences in AM fungal richness and community composition between the TBI and CM systems had no functional effect on the growth of three crops (i.e. barley, canola, and soybean). The similar growth response of crops to AM fungi from the two cropping systems may be due to the lack of functional complementarity among the AM fungi. Overall, the TBI system had a more diverse AM fungal community compared to the CM system and trees appear to be a significant factor in the structuring of these communities. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi en_US
dc.subject Tree-based intercropping en_US
dc.subject Agroforestry en_US
dc.subject Community ecology en_US
dc.title Community dynamics of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in a temperate tree-based intercropping system en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.degree.programme Integrative Biology en_US
dc.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy en_US
dc.degree.department Department of Integrative Biology en_US


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