Mycorrhizal Associations and Trophic Modes in Coexisting Orchids: An Ecological Continuum between Auto- and Mixotrophy

Abstract : Two distinct nutritional syndromes have been described in temperate green orchids. Most orchids form mycorrhizas with rhizoctonia fungi and are considered autotrophic. Some orchids, however, associate with fungi that simultaneously form ectomycorrhizas with surrounding trees and derive their carbon from these fungi. This evolutionarily derived condition has been called mixotrophy or partial mycoheterotrophy and is characterized by 13C enrichment and high N content. Although it has been suggested that the two major nutritional syndromes are clearly distinct and tightly linked to the composition of mycorrhizal communities, recent studies have challenged this assumption. Here, we investigated whether mycorrhizal communities and nutritional syndromes differed between seven green orchid species that co-occur under similar ecological conditions (coastal dune slacks). Our results showed that mycorrhizal communities differed significantly between orchid species. Rhizoctonia fungi dominated in Dactylorhiza sp., Herminium monorchis, and Epipactis palustris, which were autotrophic based on 13C and N content. Conversely, Liparis loeselii and Epipactis neerlandica associated primarily with ectomycorrhizal fungi but surprisingly, 13C and N content supported mixotrophy only in E. neerlandica. This, together with the finding of some ectomycorrhizal fungi in rhizoctonia-associated orchids, suggests that there exists an ecological continuum between the two syndromes. The presence of a large number of indicator species associating with individual orchid species further confirms previous findings that mycorrhizal fungi may be important factors driving niche-partitioning in terrestrial orchids and therefore contribute to orchid coexistence.
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Frontiers in Plant Science, Frontiers, 2017, 8, pp.1497. 〈10.3389/fpls.2017.01497〉
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Hans Jacquemyn, Michael Waud, Rein Brys, Félix Lallemand, Pierre-Emmanuel Courty, et al.. Mycorrhizal Associations and Trophic Modes in Coexisting Orchids: An Ecological Continuum between Auto- and Mixotrophy. Frontiers in Plant Science, Frontiers, 2017, 8, pp.1497. 〈10.3389/fpls.2017.01497〉. 〈hal-01589851〉

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