Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are ubiquitous symbionts of terrestrial plant species with associations predominantly characterized as mutualistic. In addition to well-documented enhancement of host growth response, more recent analyses have demonstrated the conferral of host benefits under numerous biotic and abiotic stressors. However, much of the established evidence originates from studies involving limited AM fungal diversity. Accordingly, this study sought to evaluate the potential effects of inoculation on plant host physiological traits within a growth chamber environment, investigate potential correlations between host trait responses, & assess the degree of phylogenetic signal observed in trait responses due to the presence of AM fungi. Overall, inoculation did not result in meaningfully different effects in host trait responses relative to controls. The effects of unique inoculum identity were also not meaningfully different from one another, although some instances of deviation from this trend were observed. Trait correlations were also largely absent after accounting for species relatedness. Further, model selection criteria tended to endorse an effect of unique inoculum identity but was not suggestive of effects due to evolutionary history. The presently described experimental implementation of AM phylogenetic diversity, comprising 36 taxa across 8 families, contributes to a greater contextual understanding of the AM symbiosis and offers an approach suitable for future studies.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Biology, Plant Sciences
Mowbray, David Z., "Investigating Plant Physiological Responses to Global Phylogenetic Diversity of Glomeromycotina" (2023). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1390.