Belowground symbiotic relationships of plants, such as mycorrhiza, represent important but yet underappreciated dimension of plant functional diversity. While nearly all plant species on Earth possess one or multiple types of such relationships, our understanding of their spatial dynamics and response to environmental change is still in its infancy. Recent research has convincingly demonstrated that these symbioses constitute a critical part of plant trait suits representing plant nutrient acquisition and conservation strategies. Till resent, absence of global datasets describing geographic distribution of mycorrhizal types retarded research aimed to quantify global variation in plant traits related to mycorrhizas. However, in the past few years a good progress has been achieved in creation of large datasets describing variation and geographical distribution patterns of mycorrhizal symbiosis. I will discuss the recent developments in our understanding the of global variation in intensity and types of mycorrhizal root colonization, environmental drivers thereof, and potential implications to ecosystem functioning.
*** invited by Prof. Johanna Pausch, Agroecology
Understanding mycorrhizal functions across scales
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