Mycorrhization patterns along an environmental gradient

figura_micorrizasMycorrhizal symbiosis is a mutualist association between plants and fungi which may be critical under stressful environmental conditions, like in Mediterranean forests constrained by water stress and resource scarcity.

Researchers of the IRNAS-CSIC and the University of Córdoba have studied how the degrees of colonization by ectomycorrhizal (ECM) and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi were related to other root and leaf traits, in woody plant communities of Sierra Morena (Córdoba) distributed along a gradient of soil resources.

The level of ECM colonization was positively related to the abundance of evergreen species and to tissue dry matter content (in leaves and roots), but negatively to specific root length and specific leaf area. The best abiotic predictor of ECM colonization was soil moisture, with higher ECM colonization in drier sites.

However, AM colonization was not related to any of the plant traits studied and was positively related to soil Cu and other physico-chemical soil properties.

Changes in community ECM mycorrhization were primarily due to plant species turnover, while in the case of AM colonization was more important the intraspecific variability.

The proposed mycorrhizal trait-based approach is novel and useful to understand the functioning of Mediterranean forests and shrublands.

The study has been published (on line since August 29 2016) in the Journal of Vegetation Science.

Navarro-Fernández CM, Pérez-Ramos IM, de la Riva EG, Vera JR, Roumet C, Villar R, Marañón T (2016). Functional responses of Mediterranean plant communities to soil resource heterogeneity: a mycorrhizal trait-based approach. Journal of Vegetation Science, DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12446.

Evaluation of forest ecosystem services in Andalusia (S Spain)

Castanea IstanForests are suppliers of important ecosystem services, provisioning (timber, foods, resins), regulating (improving air and water quality, soil protection, carbon sequestration) and cultural (recreation, aesthetic, spiritual) contributing to human well-being.

Researchers of the IRNAS, CSIC and EVENOR-TECH have evaluated the state and trends of ecosystem services provided by the forests of Andalusia (S Spain). In particular, changes during the last 50 years have been analysed for two main regulating services: soil protection from erosion and capacity of carbon storage.

In general Andalusian forests have increased their carbon storage by 3040 Gg C during the last 50 years, due to the plantations of conifers and eucalyptus. While the soil erosion risk has increased because the area of open spaces, deforested or burnt has tripled.

This study has been published in the August 2016 issue of the journal Ecosystem Services.

Anaya-Romero M, M Muñoz-Rojas, B Ibáñez y T. Marañón. Evaluation of forest ecosystem services in Mediterranean areas. Ecosystem Services 20: 82-90. 

Graduate Thesis about the Guadiamar

On Tuesday July 5th Margarita Ibáñez Ruiz del Portal presented her Graduate Thesis entitled “Temporal evolution of the system soil-plant in the Guadiamar Green Corridor, contaminated by trace elements after the Aznalcóllar mine spill: a bibliographic review (1998-2015)” (in Spanish), in the Technical School of Agronomical Engineer, University of Sevilla. The grade was “Outstanding” (10). Congratulations to Margarita, and to the Supervisors M.T. Domínguez and J.M. Murillo.

Summary (in Spanish) in Guadiamar Recare Hub