Functional trait and life-history variation of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi during secondary succession
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Original versionNMBU Student Journal of Life Sciences. 2017, 7 18-29.
Composition of plant communities during secondary succession are, to a great extent, determined by their arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbionts. However, the role of AM fungi in driving secondary succession of plant communities is still the subject of extensive research. In recent years, e orts have been made to classify plants and AM fungi according to their life history traits. e mutualistic interactions between a plant and an AM fungal species with matching life history traits are very stable over time. In contrast, mutualism is weak between plants and AM fungi with non-complementary strategies. Plants and fungi maximising each other’s tness preferentially interact at the same successional stage. Moreover, there is compelling evidence for AM fungi driving plant–soil feedbacks. While altering feedback dynamics, AM fungi play a signi cant role in driving secondary succession towards climax stages by changing the composition of plant communities and recruiting more competitive or stress-tolerant species during intermediate successional stages. Consequently, community composition and change along successional gradients can be only fully understood when accounting for one of its major determinants: the AM fungi residing below ground.