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Changes in intraspecific diversity of the arbuscular mycorrhizal community involved in plant-plant interactions between Sporobolus robustus Kunth and Prosopis juliflora (Swartz) DC along an environmental gradient

Fall F., Sanguin H., Fall D., Tournier E., Bakhoum N., Ndiaye C., Diouf D., Bâ A.M.. 2022. Microbial Ecology, 83 : p. 886-898.

DOI: 10.1007/s00248-021-01779-8

The intensification of biological processes coping with salt stress became a major issue to mitigate land degradation. The Sine-Saloum Delta in Senegal is characterized by salt-affected soils with vegetation dominated by salt-tolerant grass Sporobolus robustus and shrubs like Prosopis juliflora. Plant experiments in controlled conditions suggested that arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi might be the key actors of facilitation process observed between S. robustus and P. juliflora, but the AM fungal community determinants are largely unknown. The current field-based study aimed at (1) characterizing the environmental drivers (rhizosphere physico-chemical properties, plant type and season) of the AM fungal community along an environmental gradient and (2) identifying the AM fungal taxa that might explain the S. robustus¿mediated benefits to P. juliflora. Glomeraceae predominated in the two plants, but a higher richness was observed for S. robustus. The pH and salinity were the main drivers of AM fungal community associated with the two plants, negatively impacting richness and diversity. However, while a negative impact was also observed on mycorrhizal colonization for S. robustus, P. juliflora showed opposite colonization patterns. Furthermore, no change was observed in terms of AM fungal community dissimilarity between the two plants along the environmental gradient as would be expected according to the stress-gradient and complementary hypotheses when a facilitation process occurs. However, changes in intraspecific diversity of shared AM fungal community between the two plants were observed, highlighting 23 AM fungal OTUs associated with both plants and the highest salinity levels. Consequently, the increase of their abundance and frequency along the environmental gradient might suggest their potential role in the facilitation process that can take place between the two plants. Their use in ecological engineering could also represent promising avenues for improving vegetation restoration in saline Senegalese's lands.

Mots-clés : communauté végétale; prosopis juliflora; sol salin; tolérance au sel; arbuscular mycorrhiza [en]; relation plante sol; interactions biologiques; sénégal; sporobolus robustus; diversité intraspécifique

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