Mycorrhizas effects on nutrient interception in two riparian grass species.
Effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi on plant growth and soil nutrient depletion are well known, but their roles as nutrient interceptor in riparian areas are less clear. The effects of AM fungi on growth, soil nutrient depletion and nutrient leaching were investigated in columns with two riparian grass species. Mycorrhizal and non mycorrhizal (NM) plants were grown in a mixture of riparian soil and sand (60% and 40%, w/w respectively) for 8 weeks under glasshouse conditions. Mycorrhizal colonization, AM external hyphae development, plant growth, nutrient uptake and NO3, NH4 and available P in soil and leachate were measured. Mycorrhizal fungi highly colonized roots of exotic grass Phalaris aquatica and significantly increased plant growth and nutrient uptake. Columns containing of AM Phalaris aquatica had higher levels of AM external hyphae, lower levels of NO3, NH4 and available P in soil and leachate than NM columns. Although roots of native grass Austrodanthonia caespitosa had moderately high levels of AM colonization and AM external hyphae in soil, AM inoculation had no significant effects on plant growth, soil and leachate concentration of NO3 and NH4. But AM inoculation decreased available soil P concentration in deeper soil layer and had no effects on dissolved P in leachate. Although both grass species had nearly the same biomass, results showed that leachate collected from Austrodanthonia caespitosa columns significantly had lower levels of NO3, NH4 and dissolve P than leachate from exotic Phalaris aquatica columns. Taken together, these data shows that native plant species intercept higher nutrient than exotic plant species and had no responsiveness to AM fungi related to nutrient leaching, but AM fungi play an important role in interception of nutrient in exotic plant species.