|Analysis of ribosomal RNA indicates seasonal fungal community dynamics in Andropogon gerardii roots
|Year of Publication
|Rhizosphere, Ribosomal RNA, Seasonal dynamics, tallgrass prairie
Use of the reverse-transcribed small subunit of the ribosomal RNA (rRNA) was tested for exploring seasonal dynamics of fungal communities associated with the roots of the dominant tallgrass prairie grass, Andropogon gerardii. Ribosomal RNA was extracted, reverse-transcribed, and PCR-amplified in four sampling events in May, July, September, and November. Analyses of cloned PCR amplicons indicated that the A. gerardii rhizospheres host phylogenetically diverse fungal communities and that these communities are seasonally dynamic. Operational taxonomic units with Basic Local Alignment Search Tool affinities within the order Helotiales were dominant in the rhizosphere in May. These putative saprobes were largely replaced by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi with likely affinities within Glomerales suggesting that the fungal communities are not only compositionally but also functionally dynamic. These data suggest replacement of functional guilds comprised of saprobic fungi by mutualistic fungi in the course of a growing season.