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Data from: Topology of tree-mycorrhizal fungus interaction networks in xeric and mesic Douglas-fir forests

Cite this dataset

Beiler, Kevin J.; Simard, Suzanne W.; Durall, Daniel M. (2015). Data from: Topology of tree-mycorrhizal fungus interaction networks in xeric and mesic Douglas-fir forests [Dataset]. Dryad.


1. From the phytocentric perspective, a mycorrhizal network (MN) is formed when the roots of two or more plants are colonized by the same fungal genet. MNs can be modelled as interaction networks with plants as nodes and fungal genets as links. The potential effects of MNs on facilitation or competition between plants are increasingly recognized, but their network topologies remain largely unknown. This information is needed to understand the ecological significance of MN functional traits. 2. The objectives of this study were to describe the interaction network topologies of MNs formed between two ectomycorrhizal fungal species, Rhizopogon vesiculosus and R. vinicolor, and interior Douglas-fir trees at the forest stand scale, identify factors leading to this structure and to contrast MN structures between forest plots with xeric versus mesic soil moisture regimes. 3. Tuberculate mycorrhizas were sampled in six 10 × 10 m plots with either xeric or mesic soil moisture regimes. Microsatellite DNA markers were used to identify tree and fungal genotypes isolated from mycorrhizas and for comparison with reference tree boles above-ground. 4. In all six plots, trees and fungal genets were highly interconnected. Size asymmetries between different tree cohorts led to non-random MN topologies, while differences in size and connectivity between Rhizopogon species-specific subnetwork components contributed towards MN nestedness. Large mature trees acted as network hubs with a significantly higher node degree compared to smaller trees. MNs representing trees linked by R. vinicolor genets were mostly nested within larger, more highly connected R. vesiculosus-linked MNs. 5. Attributes of network nodes showed that hub trees were more important to MN topology on xeric than mesic sites, but the emergent structures of MNs were similar in the two soil moisture regimes. 6. Synthesis. This study suggests MNs formed between interior Douglas-fir trees and R. vesiculosus and R. vinicolor genets are resilient to the random loss of participants, and to soil water stress, but may be susceptible to the loss of large trees or fungal genets. Our results regarding the topology of MNs contribute to the understanding of forest stand dynamics and the resilience of forests to stress or disturbance.

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