Fungal diversity regulates plant-soil feedbacks in temperate grassland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Jonathan W Leff
  • Yudi M. Lozano
  • Sirgi Saar
  • John Davison
  • Anna Wilkinson
  • Benjamin G Jackson
  • William Pritchard
  • Jonathan De Long
  • Simon Oakley
  • Kelly E Mason
  • Nicholas J Ostle
  • Elizabeth M Baggs
  • Noah Fierer


Feedbacks between plants and soil microbial communities play an important
role in vegetation dynamics, but the underlying mechanisms remain unresolved.
Here we show that the diversity of putative pathogenic, mycorrhizal and
saprotrophic fungi are primary regulators of plant-soil feedbacks across a broad
range of temperate grassland plant species. We show that plant species with
resource-acquisitive traits, such as high shoot nitrogen concentrations and thin
roots, attract diverse communities of putative fungal pathogens and specialist
saprotrophs, and a lower diversity of mycorrhizal fungi, resulting in strong plant
growth suppression on soil occupied by the same species. Moreover, soil
properties modulate feedbacks with fertile soils promoting antagonistic
relationships between soil fungi and plants. This study advances our capacity to
predict plant-soil feedbacks and vegetation dynamics by revealing fundamental
links between soil properties, plant resource acquisition strategies and the
diversity of fungal guilds in soil.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalScience Advances
Issue number11
Early online date28 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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