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Fungal diversity regulates plant-soil feedbacks in temperate grassland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Marina Semchenko
  • Jonathan W. Leff
  • Yudi M. Lozano
  • Sirgi Saar
  • John Davison
  • Anna Wilkinson
  • Benjamin Jackson
  • William J. Pritchard
  • Jonathan R De Long
  • Simon Oakley
  • Kelly E. Mason
  • Nicholas J. Ostle
  • Elizabeth Baggs
  • David Johnson
  • Noah Fierer
  • Richard D. Bardgett

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    Rights statement: Copyright © 2018 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Original languageEnglish
JournalScience Advances
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2018


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.

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