Fungi in roots of nursery grown Pinus sylvestris: ectomycorrhizal colonisation, genetic diversity and spatial distribution.
The aims of this study were to investigate patterns of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) colonisation and community structure on nursery grown seedlings of Pinus sylvestris, spatial distribution of ECMs in the nursery plot and genetic diversity of commonly isolated ECM basidiomycete Hebeloma cavipes. One hundred seedlings were sampled in 225 m2 area using a systematic grid design. For each seedling, 20 individual root tips were randomly collected, morphotyped, and surface sterilised for fungal isolation in pure culture. Results showed that ECM community was comprised of nine distinct morphotypes among which Thelephora terrestris (39.7%), Hebeloma sp. (17.8%) and Suillus luteus (6.1%) were the most abundant. Spatial distribution of ECMs in the nursery plot was determined by their relative abundance: even in common ECMs and random in rare ones. Fungal isolation yielded 606 pure cultures, representing 71 distinct taxa. The most commonly isolated fungi were the ascomycetes Neonectria macrodidyma (20.3%), Phialocephala fortinii (13.5%), Neonectria radicicola (6.3%) and the ECM basidiomycete H. cavipes (4.5%). Intraspecific genetic diversity within 27 H. cavipes isolates was studied using two methods: restriction digestion of the amplified intergenic spacer of nuclear ribosomal DNA and genealogical concordance of five genetic markers. Five and eight genotypes were revealed by each respective method, but both of those were largely consistent, in particular, in determining the largest genotype (A) composed of 18 isolates. Mapping positions for each H. cavipes isolate and genotype in the field showed that isolates of the A genotype covered a large part of the nursery plot. This suggests that H. cavipes is largely disseminated by vegetative means of local genotypes and that nursery cultivation practices are likely to contribute to the dissemination of this species in the forest nursery soils.