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Liverworts to the rescue : an investigation of their efficacy as mycorrhizal inoculum for vascular plants [Functional Ecology]

Keywords : Below-ground biota, Cephalozia, Ericaceae, ericoid mycorrhiza, heathland, leafy liverworts, Pezoloma ericae, plant-fungus interactions, plant-soil (below-ground) interactions, restoration ecology, symbiosis

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

1.Pezoloma ericae (D.J. Read) Baral, a widespread mycorrhizal fungus of plants in the Ericales, is known to form intracellular associations with several families of leafy liverworts (Marchantiophyta, Jungermanniales, Schistochilaceae, Lepidoziaceae, Cephaloziaceae, Cephaloziellaceae) in vitro. The ecological significance of this link between vascular and non-vascular plants is unknown.
2.Fungal symbionts were isolated from rhizoids of the leafy liverworts Cephalozia connivens (Dicks.) Lindb. and C. bicuspidata (L.) Dum. (Cephaloziaceae), as well as from the hair roots of two dominant ericoid-mycorrhiza forming species of European heathlands, Erica tetralix (L.) and Calluna vulgaris (L.).
3.Using pure cultures of P. ericae, we re-synthesized liverwort-fungus associations to use colonized liverworts as inoculum which was applied to substrates supporting the growth of heather seedlings and cuttings. Effects were quantified using germination, rooting, plant colonization, plant survival under waterlogging stress and growth in height in experimental systems with and without liverworts and/or fungi.(...)

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