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Review of pteridophyte & bryophyte mycorrhizal association

  • Subject: [ferns] Review of pteridophyte & bryophyte mycorrhizal association
  • From: chad.husby@fiu.edu
  • Date: Sat, 15 Feb 2003 22:57:39 -0500

Dear listmembers,

The following article reviews mycorrhizal associations in pteridophytes and bryophytes.

- Chad Husby

Bibliographic information:
Read, D.J, Duckett, J.G., Fracis, R., Ligrone, R., and Russell, A. 2000. Symbiotic fungal associations in 'lower' land plants.  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B Biological Sciences 355(1398):815-831.

An analysis of the current state of knowledge of symbiotic fungal associations in 'lower' plants is provided. Three fungal phyla, the Zygomycota, Ascomycota and Basidiomycota, are involved in forming these associations, each producing a distinctive suite of structural features in well-defined groups of 'lower' plants. Among the 'lower' plants only mosses and Equisetum appear to lack one or other of these types of association. The salient features of the symbioses produced by each fungal group are described and the relationships between these associations and those formed by the same or related fungi in 'higher' plants are discussed. Particular consideration is given to the question of the extent to which root-fungus associations in 'lower' plants are analogous to 'mycorrhizas' of 'higher' plants and the need for analysis of the functional attributes of these symbioses is stressed. Zygomycetous fungi colonize a wide range of extant lower land plants (hornworts, many hepatics, lycopods, Ophioglossales, Psilotales and Gleicheniaceae), where they often produce structures analogous to those seen in the vesicular-arbuscular (VA) mycorrhizas of higher plants, which are formed by members of the order Glomales. A preponderance of associations of this kind is in accordance with palaeobotanical and molecular evidence indicating that glomalean fungi produced the archetypal symbioses with the first plants to emerge on to land. It is shown, probably for the first time, that glomalean fungi forming typical VA mycorrhiza with a higher plant (Plantago lanceolata) can colonize a thalloid liverwort (Pellia epiphylla), producing arbuscules and vesicles in the hepatic. The extent to which these associations, which are structurally analogous to mycorrhizas, have similar functions remains to be evaluated. Ascomycetous associations are found in a relatively small number of families of leafy liverworts. The structural features of the fungal colonization of rhizoids and underground axes of these plants are similar to those seen in mycorr

hizal associations of ericaceous plants like Vaccinium. Cross inoculation experiments have confirmed that a typical mycorrhizal endophyte of ericaceous plants, Hymenoscyphus ericae, will form associations in liverworts which are structurally identical to those seen in nature. Again, the functional significance of these associations remains to be examined. Some members of the Jungermanniales and Metzgeriales form associations with basidiomycetous fungi. These produce intracellular coils of hyphae, which are similar to the pelotons seen in orchid mycorrhizas, which also involve basidiomycetes. The fungal associates of the autotrophic Aneura and of its heterotrophic relative Cryptothallus mirabilis have been isolated. In the latter case it has been shown that the fungal symbiont is an ectomycorrhizal associate of Betula, suggesting that the apparently obligate nature of the association between the hepatic and Betula in nature is based upon requirement for this particular heterotroph.

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