Bistorta vivipara is a widespread arctic-alpine ectomycorrhizal (ECM) plant species. Recent findings suggest that fungal communities associated with B. vivipara roots appear random over short distances, but at larger scales, environmental filtering structure fungal communities. Habitats in highly stressful environments where specialist species with narrower niches may have an advantage represent unique opportunity to test the effect of environmental filtering. We utilised high-throughput amplicon sequencing to identify ECM communities associated with B. vivipara in Svalbard. We compared ECM communities in a core habitat where B. vivipara is frequent (Dryas-heath) with edge habitats representing extremes in terms of nutrient availability where B. vivipara is less frequent (bird-manured meadow and a nutrient-depleted mine tilling). Our analysis revealed that soil conditions in edge habitats favour less diverse but more distinct ECM fungal communities with functional traits adapted to local conditions. ECM richness was overall lower in both edge habitats, and the taxonomic compositions of ECM fungi were in line with our functional expectations. Stress-tolerant genera such as Laccaria and Hebeloma were abundant in nutrient-poor mine site whereas functional competitors genera such as Lactarius and Russula were dominant in the nutrient-rich bird-cliff site. Our results suggest that ECM communities in rare edge habitats are most likely not subsets of the larger pool of ECM fungi found in natural tundra, and they may represent a significant contribution to the overall diversity of ECM fungi in the Arctic.
- Community structure and richness
- Core and edge habitat
- Illumina sequencing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Plant Science