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Title: Post-fire colonization of Cistus creticus L. seedlings by ectomycorrhizal fungi in Aleppo pine forests in Central Greece
Author: Milne, Jeremy
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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Cistus creticus L is an ectomycorrhizal woody perennial that establishes after fires in Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) forests from small, hard-coated seeds that are stored in the soil. Field observations, and field and greenhouse bioassays were used to assess spatial and temporal variation in post fire colonization of Cistus creticus by ectomycorrhizal fungi and to investigate the potential of resprouting shrubs to act as refugia to ectomycorrhizal fungal inoculum. Four months after fire, ectomycorrhizal fungal inoculum was stratified both vertically and horizontally. Cistus creticus seedlings were predominantly colonized by E-strain and other ascomycete fungi that occurred mostly in top 3 cm of root systems throughout the forest. Basidiomycete fungi were rare and confined to lower parts of root systems in seedlings establishing close to both ectomycorrhizal and non-ectomycorrhizal resprouting shrubs. Few of the fungi colonizing naturally establishing seedlings appeared in the greenhouse bioassay of soils taken from the same site suggesting that most of these fungi colonize from mycelial inoculum attached to living or recently dead root systems of mature trees or shrubs. In the absence of competition from other EM fungi, the pot-grown seedlings were heavily dominated by one of the unidentified fungi observed in the top 3 cm of naturally establishing seedlings. This fungus formed a discontinuous Hartig net with or without a weak mantle in both short and long roots. Sequential observations of naturally establishing seedlings revealed that this pattern of colonization was common in naturally establishing seedlings during the first four months after germination. After six months, this fungus had been largely replaced on the short roots by other fungi but maintained its colonization of the long roots. Though the identity of this fungus remains unknown, its affinity to species of desert truffle (Tirmania and Terfezia spp.) is discussed. This unknown fungus and that forming the E-strain morphotype appear to provide an important initial source of inoculum in the immediate post-germination phase while other fungi are recovering from the fire. Interactions between plants and fungi are discussed in the context of nutrient acquisition and fungal regeneration strategies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available