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Global distribution patterns of distinct mycorrhizal types and ecological drivers of these patterns

What are the global relationships between environmental conditions and abundance of distinct types of mycorrhizal fungi in soil and plant roots?

2017 - 2021
Nadia Soudzilovskaia
  • Kathleen Treseder, University of California, Irvine, USA
  • Colleen Iversen, Climate Change Science Institute and Environmental Sciences Division Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA
  • Pal-Axel Olsson, Lund University, Sweden
  • Leho Tedersoo, Tartu University, Estonia

Short Abstract

Despite the fact that most Earth plants form mycorrhizas (plant-fungal symbiotic relationship) little is known about global patterns of mycorrhizal fungal abundance in the soil, neither about environmental drivers thereof. Within this project we aim to detect global relationships between abundance of mycorrhizal fungi in soil and plant roots and site environmental conditions and vegetation.

Project Description

Our understanding of mycorrhizal fungal impacts on ecosystem functioning  is mostly limited to the supporting role of mycorrhizas to plant nutrition, while mechanisms of direct impacts of mycorrhizal fungi on ecosystem processes, remains largely unknown. Understanding these impacts at local and global scale is essential to predict and anticipate responses of plant-soil interaction processes to human-induced stresses such as global environmental change and land use alterations. In order to obtain this understanding we need to know global distribution patterns of mycorrhizal fungi in the soil, and environmental mechanisms controlling these distributions. In this project we take a challenge to detect mycorrhizal fungal abundance patterns in soil and plant roots across the globe for two most wide-spread mycorrhizal fungi arbuscular and ectomycorhizal, and to understand which environmental drivers underpin these patterns.


Using experimentation,  and global field sampling in combination with modern chemical and molecular methods we collect data on mycorrhizal fungal abundance on soil and in plant roots accompanied by information on site environmental conditions, vegetation, root abundance and microbial communities, and seek for causal relationship driving the suits of these patterns.

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