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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Palmer, Corey [1], Richardson, Sarah C. [1], Middleton, Elizabeth [2], Bever, James [3], Schultz, Peggy A. [4], Yermakov, Zhanna [5].

Investigating the outward spread of benefit from vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi of varying origins into an urban prairie restoration.

Background: Previous research highlights the importance of integrating soil ecological knowledge into restoration practices. There is evidence that Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi benefit certain plant species in prairie restorations, and may increase the rate of succession from plants of predominantly low conservation values to those of higher conservation values. Current research is addressing the effects of AM fungi on an urban prairie installation along Chicago’s southern Lake Shore Drive. This study aims to quantify the maximum distance uninoculated plants can receive benefit from plants inoculated with either commercial or native fungi. Methods: Four prairie plant species were used as nurse plants, and inoculated with a mix of either commercially produced fungi of unknown ecotype or fungi species native to Chicago region prairies. The inoculated nurse plants were transplanted down the centerline of 27 study plots. Uninoculated seedlings of Sporobolus heterolepus, a grass shown to benefit from mycorrhizal symbiosis, were transplanted into the plots at 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 meters from the nurse plants. Growth of S. heterolepis was considered an indirect measure for the outward spread of fungi from the nurse. Results:S. heterolepis grown in plots with native fungi nurses grew best at the 0.5 and 1 meter distances. Test plants associated with commercial fungi nurses did not grow or survive as well as those with native fungi nurse plants. Implications: Results suggest that prairie plants can access AM fungal benefit up to one meter away from an inoculation point in the first growing season. Response was strongest with native prairie fungi, suggesting there are benefits to prairie plant growth and survival when using coevolved fungi instead of fungi from an unknown ecosystem. Investigation will quantify further spread of AM fungal benefit throughout the second growing season. Future study may seek direct evidence of AM fungal spread, and explore other sources of benefit associated with the fungi that may precede actual colonization.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - DePaul University, Environmental Science, 2325 N. Clifton Ave, #1F, Chicago, IL, 60614, United States
2 - Indiana University, 1001 E Third Street, Bloomington, IN, 47405, USA
3 - Indiana University, Department Of Biology, Jordan Hall, 1001 East Third Street, Bloomington, IN, 47405, USA
4 - Indiana University, Department of Biology, Jordan Hall, 1001 East Third Street, Bloomington, IN, 47405, USA
5 - Chicago Park District, 541 N. Fairbanks, Chicago, IL, 60611, United States

urban ecology
Arbuscular mycorrhizae
Sporobolus heterolepus.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Session: P
Location: Khorassan Ballroom/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PCB004
Abstract ID:608

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