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Abstract Detail

Symbioses: Plant, Animal, and Microbe Interactions

Malik , Rondy J [1], Eissenstat, David M [2].

Rhizosphere ecology: does rhizospheric saprotrophs require living roots for recalcitrant litter decomposition.

Although root chemical leachates, or rhizodeposits, may select, promote, and facilitate rhizosphere establishment, it is unclear of the role of living roots for sustaining a functional rhizosphere. In the context of recalcitrant litter decomposition, specifically coarse woody debris, how important are rhizospheric microbial communities associated with living roots in contrast to rhizospheric microbial communities without roots (legacy effects)?. We hypothesize that the presence of live roots will enhance decomposition. To test this hypothesis, rhizospheres of arbuscular mycorrhizal sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and ectomycorrhizal white oak (Quercus alba) were tested at two old growth forests and a common garden in Central Pennsylvania. Wood substrate was placed into the rhizosphere of either A. saccharum and Q. alba in the presence of roots (+roots), while as a control, wood substrate was placed in the same rhizospheres, but live root exposure was eliminated by trenching (-roots). In both tree species, live roots promoted faster decomposition. Faster wood decomposition was associated with greater mycelial colonization and wood rot in rhizospheres with living roots. Sites were a significant covariate, which may be due to composition and activity of saprotrophs due to different bedrock or parent material. Although additional work is needed to determine the extent in which roots can facilitate wood decomposition, these findings suggest that live roots are not only required for rhizosphere establishment, but also for sustaining ecosystem functions like decomposition.

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1 - The Pennsylvania State University, The Huck Institute of Life Sciences - Ecology Program, University Park, PA, 16802, USA
2 - Penn State University, Ecosystem Science And Managment, 201 Forest Resources Building, University Park, PA, 16802, United States

Temperate trees
Coarse wood debris.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 35, Symbioses: Plant, Animal, and Microbe Interactions
Location: 104/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Wednesday, July 25th, 2018
Time: 8:15 AM
Number: 35002
Abstract ID:170
Candidate for Awards:None

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