Fungal diversity regulates plant-soil feedbacks in temperate grassland

Marina Semchenko (Corresponding author), Jonathan W. Leff, Yudi M. Lozano, Sirgi Saar, John Davison, Anna Wilkinson, Benjamin G. Jackson, William J. Pritchard, Jonathan R. De Long, Simon Oakley, Kelly E. Mason, Nicholas J. Ostle, Elizabeth M. Baggs, David Johnson, Noah Fierer, Richard D. Bardgett

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Feedbacks between plants and soil microbial communities play an important role in vegetation dynamics, but the underlying mechanisms remain unresolved. Here, we show that the diversity of putative pathogenic, mycorrhizal, and saprotrophic fungi is a primary regulator of plant-soil feedbacks across a broad range of temperate grassland plant species. We show that plant species with resource-acquisitive traits, such as high shoot nitrogen concentrations and thin roots, attract diverse communities of putative fungal pathogens and specialist saprotrophs, and a lower diversity of mycorrhizal fungi, resulting in strong plant growth suppression on soil occupied by the same species. Moreover, soil properties modulate feedbacks with fertile soils, promoting antagonistic relationships between soil fungi and plants. This study advances our capacity to predict plant-soil feedbacks and vegetation dynamics by revealing fundamental links between soil properties, plant resource acquisition strategies, and the diversity of fungal guilds in soil.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaau4578
JournalScience advances
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2018


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