Effects of Soil Environment on Abundance, Diversity and Community Structure of Ectomycorrhizal Fungi in Pinus Radiata

Steele, Sarah C. (2015) Effects of Soil Environment on Abundance, Diversity and Community Structure of Ectomycorrhizal Fungi in Pinus Radiata. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Jason Hoeksema from Biology, The University of Mississippi.

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Abstract

Balanced and sustained nutrient cycles are critical to the success of the world’s forest ecosystems. Research has shown ectomycorrhizal fungi (ECM) play a vital role in regulating these systems, as they store and mobilize cycled nutrients for the trees they colonize. Not all species of ECM allocate essential nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous and carbon) to their host with the same efficiency. Studies have shown the soil environment is important for determining fungal distribution. To better understand the ECM fungal community of Pinus radiata, I explored the effects of soil characteristics (percent silt, percent clay, percent sand and soil water content) on the abundance, community structure and diversity of ECM fungi in P. radiata from Point Lobos State Park. Fungal species were identified from five trees using molecular methods and data analyses were completed. I found that each of the soil characteristics had an effect on raw fungal abundance, and different soil characteristics can be positively or negatively correlated with the diversity of a fungal community. Specifically, sand was negatively correlated with diversity while silt had a positive impact on diversity. This suggests soil environment, specifically soil texture, is an important variable which can alter the ECM fungal community and therefore, affect the health of the trees they colonize.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Steele, Sarah C.
Student's Degree Program(s): B.S. in Biology
Thesis Advisor: Jason Hoeksema
Thesis Advisor's Department: Biology
Institution: The University of Mississippi
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QR Microbiology
S Agriculture > SD Forestry
Depositing User: Ms Sarah Steele
Date Deposited: 07 May 2015 15:56
Last Modified: 07 May 2015 15:56
URI: http://thesis.honors.olemiss.edu/id/eprint/360

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