South-west plants share fungal symbiosis for nitrogen uptake
An investigation into nitrogen transfers between plants has found that different species can share nutrients through fungal interactions.
The study looked into numerous nutrient-acquisition strategies of plants to determine if nitrogen transfers between native plants exist in nutrient-poor soils in south-west Australia.
We’ve had this question [of] how is it possible that our ecosystem has so many species when the soils are so poor?” co-author Professor Erik Veneklaas says.
“What we’ve shown here is that it is the balance between positive and negative interactions that could help species survive together and in a way collaborate whilst they also compete.”
Lead author and UWA’s François Teste and his team found that plant species connected by both arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungal interactions benefitted most from nitrogen transfer between plants.
AM interactions penetrate plant roots allowing nutrient intake, whilst EM interactions form sheaths around the roots of plants rather then infiltrating them.
“My work highlights that these interactions might also be partly responsible for biodiversity; so nutrient retention and sharing can be part of the reason why so many species are interacting together,” Dr Teste says.
Continue reading “Plants Donating Nitrogen To Their Neighbours Via Symbiotic Fungal Networks”