TitleFertilization and forb:graminoid ratio affect arbuscular mycorrhiza in seedlings but not adult plants of Plantago lanceolata
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsSmilauerova, M, Lokvencova, M, Smilauer, P
JournalPlant and Soil

Nutrients play a key role in arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis. We quantified the response of AM symbiosis of seedlings and adult plants of Plantago lanceolata to fertilization under field conditions in managed grasslands differing in nutrient availability and soil moisture. The AM symbiosis was measured as the total extent of AM fungal colonization and frequency of arbuscules or vesicles, and as the relative proportions of morphotypes. We further examined the effects of the surrounding vegetation upon AM symbiosis. Fertilization decreased total AM colonization and relative arbuscular frequency of the whole mycorrhizal community and of Acaulospora and "fine endophyte" morphotypes in seedling roots, but it had no effect upon the mycorrhiza in adult plants. The decline in arbuscular frequency in seedling roots due to fertilization was greater at the sites with higher nutrient availability and lower N:P ratio. Seedlings surrounded by more forbs had a greater total AM colonization and higher vesicular frequency. Increased nutrient availability in the initial stages of seedling development has a prominent effect upon AM symbiosis development, but these effects seem to diminish over the long term, as evidenced by the results obtained for adult plants and from the limited effects of parameters characterizing long-term nutrient availability.