Microsite differences in fungal hyphal length, glomalin, and soil aggregate stability in semiarid Mediterranean steppes

Matthias C. Rillig, Fernando T. Maestre, Louis J. Lamit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations

Abstract

Glomalin is a recently discovered glypoproteinaceous substance produced by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) that plays an important role in structuring soil. We quantified soil fungal hyphal length and glomalin content at vegetated and open microsites in Stipa tenacissima steppes of SE Spain. Soils underneath the canopy of S. tenacissima had higher glomalin pools compared to open microsites. We also found significant differences between sites, suggesting the presence of landscape level heterogeneity in glomalin concentration. Soil fungal hyphal length also differed significantly among the sites, but there was no significant effect of microsite. Water-stable aggregates (1-2 mm diameter; WSA1-2 mm), however, while differing among sites, did not vary as a function of microsite. Furthermore, WSA1-2 mm was negatively correlated with glomalin fractions, as well as soil organic C. Carbonates were likely the major binding agents in these carbonate-rich (average carbonate content: 71%) soils, and not organic C (including glomalin). AMF-mediated stabilization of soil aggregates did not contribute to the formation and maintenance of fertile islands underneath the canopy of S. tenacissima.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1257-1260
Number of pages4
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Volume35
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Carbonates
  • Glomalin
  • Hyphae
  • Microsite
  • Restoration
  • Semi-arid steppe
  • Stipa tenacissima

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Soil Science

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