community composition

BMS01 Mycorrhizae spore density and composition in the Belowground Plot Experiment at Konza Prairie


Spore densities of 14 groups (13 species + unknown) were measured the 64 belowground plots (record type 1). Effects of burning, mowing, and N + P additions on spore densities (an index of AM fungi infection rates). Community indices and percent root colonization (record type 2). Effects of burning, mowing, and N + P additions on mycorrhizal community composition and root colonization.

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To determine mycorrhizal fungus species composition and number in the Konza Prairie LTER Belowground study plots. Percentage mycorrhizal colonization and colonization intensity of sampled plant roots will also be determined.


Location of Sampling Stations: LTER belowground study plots, sampled every 5 years.

Variable Measured: 1). Mycorrhizal species composition per gram (dry wt) soil; 2). Spore density of each mycorrhizal species per gram (dry wt) soil; 3). Percent mycorrhizal root colonization of sampled plant roots.

Methods: Ten 15 x 1.8 cm cores are removed from each LTER sample plot. The cores are randomly taken from throughout the plots with a 25 x 1.8 cm soil probe. Percent moisture is calculated and 100-500 g (dry wt) soil are examined from each sampling site. Samples are blended in water, wet sieved through a 38 cm sieve, decanted and subjected to 20, 40 and 60% sucrose density centrifugation (Daniels and Skipper, 1982) to separate spores from organic matter. Spores thus collected are then examined microscopically to determine the number of spores and identity of each species present. Roots from each sample were washed free of soil, stained with trypan blue (Phillips and Hayman, 1970), and examined microscopically to determine percentage root colonization (Kormanik and McGraw, 1980).

Daniels, B.A., and H.D. Skipper (1982). Methods for the recovery and quantitative estimation of propogules from soil. IN: Methods and Principles of Mycorrhizal Research (N.C. Schenck, Ed.), pp. 29-37. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, Minn.

Kormanik, P.P., and A.C. McGraw (1982). Quantification of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae in plant roots. IN: Methods and Principles of Mycorrhizal Research (N.C. Schenck, Ed.), pp. 37-47. The American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, Minn.

Phillips, J.M. and D.S. Hayman (1970). Improved procedures for cleaning roots and staining parasitic and vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi for rapid assessment of infection. Transactions of the Mycological Society 55:158-160.

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