Data from: Decrease in diversity and changes in community composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in roots of apple trees with increasing orchard management intensity across a regional scale
Van Geel, Maarten; Lievens, Bart; Honnay, Olivier (2015), Data from: Decrease in diversity and changes in community composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in roots of apple trees with increasing orchard management intensity across a regional scale, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.g7356
Understanding which factors drive the diversity and community composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) is important due to the role of these soil microorganisms in ecosystem functioning and current environmental threats to AMF biodiversity. Additionally, in agro-ecosystems, this knowledge may help to evaluate their use in making agriculture more sustainable. Here, we used 454-pyrosequencing of small subunit rRNA gene amplicons to quantify AMF diversity and community composition in the roots of cultivated apple trees across 24 orchards in central Belgium. We aimed at identifying the factors (soil chemical variables, organic versus conventional farming, and geographical location) that affect AMF diversity and community composition. In total, 110 AMF OTUs were detected, of which the majority belonged to the Glomeraceae (73%) and the Claroideoglomeraceae (19%). We show that soil characteristics and farming system, rather than the geographical location of the orchards, shape AMF communities on apple trees. Particularly, plant-available P content of the soil was associated with lower AMF diversity. In orchards with a lower plant-available P content of the soil (P < 100 mg/kg soil), we also found a significantly higher AMF diversity in organically managed orchards as compared to conventionally managed orchards. Finally, the degree of nestedness of the AMF communities was related to plant-available P and N content of the soil, pointing at a progressive loss of AMF taxa with increasing fertilization. Overall, we conclude that a combination of organic orchard management and moderate fertilization may preserve diverse AMF communities on apple trees, and that AMF in the roots of apple trees appear not to be dispersal limited at the scale of central Belgium.