Universiteit Leiden

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Global distribution patterns of mycorrhizal associations

Mycorrhizas are symbiotic associations between soil fungi and most plant species.

Barcelo, M.
26 October 2022

Despite its recognized ecological relevance, quantitative information about the abundance patterns of distinct mycorrhizal plants and fungal types and their environmental drivers and ecological implications across different biomes is incomplete. This thesis quantitatively explores the aboveground and belowground abundance patterns of arbuscular mycorrhiza, ectomycorrhiza and ericoid mycorrhiza and the ecosystem properties derived from these patterns. Taken all together, the chapters of this thesis highlight the need of considering the specific environmental context when assessing mycorrhizal impacts on ecosystem functioning. Evaluating mycorrhizal-mediated ecosystem processes based solely on the abundance of AM, EcM and ErM plants may be misrepresentative. Specific climatic conditions, the abundances of the fungal partners, the microbial community composition or species-specific plant and fungal traits should also be taken into account. New theoretical frameworks need to be developed that allow more accurate predictions on mycorrhizal influence on biogeochemical cycles.

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