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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 923610, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/923610
Research Article

Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Mediation of Plant-Plant Interactions in a Marshland Plant Community

1Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
2Key Laboratory of Tree Breeding and Cultivation, State Forestry Administration, Beijing 100091, China
3Department of Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA
4Institute of Desertification Studies, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
5College of Resource and Environment, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, China

Received 30 September 2013; Accepted 19 December 2013; Published 12 February 2014

Academic Editors: N. Tomasi and B. R. Wilson

Copyright © 2014 Qian Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Obligate aerobic AMF taxa have high species richness under waterlogged conditions, but their ecological role remains unclear. Here we focused on AM fungal mediation of plant interactions in a marshland plant community. Five cooccurring plant species were chosen for a neighbor removal experiment in which benomyl was used to suppress AMF colonization. A Phragmites australis removal experiment was also performed to study its role in promoting AMF colonization by increasing rhizosphere oxygen concentration. Mycorrhizal fungal effects on plant interactions were different for dominant and subdominant plant species. AMF colonization has driven positive neighbor effects for three subdominant plant species including Kummerowia striata, Leonurus artemisia, and Ixeris polycephala. In contrast, AMF colonization enhanced the negative effects of neighbors on the dominant Conyza canadensis and had no significant impact on the neighbor interaction to the dominant Polygonum pubescens. AM colonization was positively related to oxygen concentration. P. australis increased oxygen concentration, enhanced AMF colonization, and was thus indirectly capable of influencing plant interactions. Aerobic AM fungi appear to be ecologically relevant in this wetland ecosystem. They drive positive neighbor interactions for subdominant plant species, effectively increasing plant diversity. We suggest, therefore, that AM fungi may be ecologically important even under waterlogged conditions.