What percent of the world's plants have Mycorrhizae associations?

truffler1635 at my-deja.com truffler1635 at my-deja.com
Fri Apr 28 10:47:57 EST 2000

In article <20000419203001Z63094-661+81 at credit.erin.utoronto.ca>,
  "Barry Saville" <bsaville at credit.erin.utoronto.ca> wrote:
> If one makes a statement that a number is fairly well established then that
> person should be able to come up with hard numbers.
I disagree. The total number of plants to be addressed is to great for
any single person. Imagine attempting to determine the mycorrhizal
association of tundra plants to someone who lives in the tropics.
Similarly, consider the problems associated with a temperate researcher
in trying to track down fresh material of tropical rain forest plant
life for verification purposes.
  I agree that these
> numbers have been thrown around by a various researchers but does anyone
> know of a study where researcher went to a field plot and put down a
> transect or a quadrate and looked at all the different species of plants in
> that transect or quadrate to determine which ones  have mycorrhizal
> associations.  Given that this has been done, there should be a reference
> for it and if it has been done then has it been done in all the various
> habitats around the world to determine if the level of mycorhizal
> association varies between environments.  The answers to questions like
> these would form the basis for statements like 90% plus of the plants are
> mycorhizal.  The references where this type of work is reported are what I
> am interested in finding, so that if I ever want to answer questions about
> mycorhizal associations I can back up my statement with a study.
>   Does any one know of these references?
> --Barry Saville Bsc. MSc. PhD.
> Assistant Professor
> Biology Department
> University of Toronto at Mississauga
> bsaville at credit.erin.utoronto.ca
> Phone:905-569-4702
> Fax: 905-828-3792
That shouldn't be difficult. There's only about 40,000 peer-reviewed
papers on mycorrhizae out there. ;)

OTOH, if you haven't reviewed the papers, it's still hearsay, isn't it?
So what does a researcher do? Examine those species readily available to
them. It shouldn't be difficult to find feeder roots of 100-200 species
of plants in your area. Then examine them under the microscope for endo-
or ectomycorrhizae. You quickly find that it is not so much a question
of finding rootlets that _have_ mycorrhizae, but finding ones that
_don't_. Glomus sps. are especially easy to observe with their
relatively large spore size.

But the real people to ask of this question are those who specialize in
mycorrhizae. May I suggest reviewing articles by: R Molina, R. Maire, G.
Malencon, R. Fogel, H.M. Gilkey, M.A. Castellano, J.M. Trappe, G.
Guzman, H.W. Harkness, D.R. Hosford, A.H. Smith, D.C. Ure, and S.M.
Zeller for starters? That should keep you reading for a few months. <G>

Do also get "Key to Spores of the Genera of Hypogeous Fungi of North
Temperate Forests with special reference to animal mycophagy" by Michael
A. Castellano, James M. Trappe, Zane Maser, & Chris Maser. Examination
of most works dealing with animal mycophagy should also aid your
research, as many mycorrhizal fungi require dispersal from animal or
animate vectors, as many produce spores in soil (underground).

Some of us non-Ph.D.s rely on other Ph.D.s for our data. Scientific? No.
Reliable. So far.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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