Scientific Correspondence | Published:

Ploughing up the wood-wide web?

Abstract

Key species groups that affect major ecological processes are vital components of community diversity. Many such key groups are found in the soil, including the mycorrhizal fungi that may connect plants into a functional “wood-wide web”1. Arbuscular mycorrhizal associations are formed by fungi of the order Glomales with 90% of land plant families, and many arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are thought to have a broad host range2. Here we show that, despite this broad host range, the diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi is strikingly low in arable sites compared with a woodland.

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Figure 1: Neighbour-joining phylogeny of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal DNA sequences amplified from plant roots sampled at woodland (green letters) and arable (red letters) sites.

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