An ectomycorrhizal nitrogen economy facilitates monodominance in a neotropical forest

Adriana Corrales, Scott A. Mangan, Benjamin L. Turner, James W. Dalling

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

Abstract

Tropical forests are renowned for their high diversity, yet in many sites a single tree species accounts for the majority of the individuals in a stand. An explanation for these monodominant forests remains elusive, but may be linked to mycorrhizal symbioses. We tested three hypotheses by which ectomycorrhizas might facilitate the dominance of the tree, Oreomunnea mexicana, in montane tropical forest in Panama. We tested whether access to ectomycorrhizal networks improved growth and survival of seedlings, evaluated whether ectomycorrhizal fungi promote seedling growth via positive plant-soil feedback, and measured whether Oreomunnea reduced inorganic nitrogen availability. We found no evidence that Oreomunnea benefits from ectomycorrhizal networks or plant-soil feedback. However, we found three-fold higher soil nitrate and ammonium concentrations outside than inside Oreomunnea-dominated forest and a correlation between soil nitrate and Oreomunnea abundance in plots. Ectomycorrhizal effects on nitrogen cycling might therefore provide an explanation for the monodominance of ectomycorrhizal tree species worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-392
Number of pages10
JournalEcology Letters
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Fingerprint

tropical forests
nitrogen
tropical forest
soil
nitrates
seedling
nitrate
ectomycorrhizae
inorganic nitrogen
montane forest
Panama
symbiosis
montane forests
seedling growth
ammonium
fungus
fold
fungi
seedlings
Oreomunnea

Keywords

  • Decomposition
  • Juglandaceae
  • Mycorrhizal networks
  • Mycorrhizal symbiosis
  • Panama
  • Stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

An ectomycorrhizal nitrogen economy facilitates monodominance in a neotropical forest. / Corrales, Adriana; Mangan, Scott A.; Turner, Benjamin L.; Dalling, James W.

In: Ecology Letters, Vol. 19, No. 4, 01.04.2016, p. 383-392.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

Corrales, Adriana ; Mangan, Scott A. ; Turner, Benjamin L. ; Dalling, James W. / An ectomycorrhizal nitrogen economy facilitates monodominance in a neotropical forest. In: Ecology Letters. 2016 ; Vol. 19, No. 4. pp. 383-392.
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