A toxic grass Achnatherum inebrians serves as a diversity refuge for the soil fungal community in rangelands of northern China
Title: A toxic grass Achnatherum inebrians serves as a diversity refuge for the soil fungal community in rangelands of northern China
Authors: Yao Xiang, Chen Zhenjiang, Wei Xuekai, Chen Shuihong, White James, Huang Xi, Li Chunjie*, Nan Zhibiao
Journal: Plant and Soil
Impact Factor: IF2018= 3.259(农林1区)
Background and aims Many grasslands across China and worldwide have been grazed extensively to produce food for a growing population. In many of these grasslands, unpalatable plants become abundant and these have been shown to function as refuges for plant diversity. We hypothesize that toxic plants may also serve as refuges for soil microbes.
Methods In this study, we tested this hypothesis by investigating soil fungal parameters, soil parameters and plant parameters in areas dominated by the unpalatable drunken horse grass (Achnatherum inebrians), and areas without this toxic grass, in three types of natural rangelands in northern China.
Results Our results showed that the areas dominated by the toxic grass had a higher fungal diversity (P < 0.05), higher microbial biomass, higher abundance of plant pathogens in soil and higher plant biomass (P < 0.05) than areas that did not contain the toxic grass. The soil fungal community had a positive correlation with plant community (P < 0.05) and plant biomass (P < 0.05) across the three study sites. Fungal diversity and microbial biomass correlated positively with higher plant biomass (P < 0.05). Abundance of plant pathogens in soil had a positive correlation with importance value of A. inebrians (P < 0.05).
Conclusions The results indicated that change of plant community composition, increased plant biomass and resulted in an A. inebrians refuge effect, driving higher fungal diversity and microbial biomass.
PDF：YaoX,LiCJ.2020 A toxic grass serves as diversity refuge for soil fungal microbe community.pdf