Differences in Arbuscular mycorrhizal Fungal Communities Associated with Sugar Maple Seedlings in and Outside of Invaded Garlic Mustard Forest Patches

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Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a Eurasian native that has become invasive in North America. The invasive success of A. petiolata has been partly attributed to its production of allelopathic compounds that can limit the growth of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). Although such effects are well known, specific effects on the richness and community composition of AMF associated with woody species have not been explored. We collected sugar maple (Acer saccharum) seedlings from eight natural forest sites in Ohio and Massachusetts, containing areas either invaded or uninvaded by A. petiolata. We measured AMF root colonization of seedlings, isolated DNA from the roots and performed PCR-TRFLP analysis to assess the richness and community composition of AMF. As expected, we found reduced AMF colonization in A. petiolata invaded patches. A. petiolata did not alter the detected TRF richness, but was associated with significant changes in the composition of AMF communities in half of the sites monitored in each region. Our results suggest that although AMF colonization was reduced in A. petiolata patches, many indigenous AMF communities include AMF that are tolerant to allelopathic effects of A. petiolata.



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