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Lost in diversity: the interactions between soil-borne fungi, biodiversity and plant productivity

Mommer, L and Cotton, TEA and Raaijmakers, JM and Termorshuizen, AJ and van Ruijven, J and Hendriks, M and van Rijssel, SQ and van de Mortel, JE and van der Paauw, JW and Schijlen, EGWM and Smit-Tiekstra, AE and Berendse, F and de Kroon, H and Dumbrell, AJ (2018) 'Lost in diversity: the interactions between soil-borne fungi, biodiversity and plant productivity.' New Phytologist. ISSN 0028-646X

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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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: density dependence, fungal community composition, host specificity, neighbour identity, root distribution, root-associated fungi
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2018 10:58
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2019 20:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/21524

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