Orwin, K.H., Kirschbaum, M.U.F., St. John, M.G., Dickie, I.A. (2011). Organic nutrient uptake by mycorrhizal fungi enhances ecosystem carbon storage: a model-based assessment. Ecology Letters 14: 493-502.
the factors that drive soil carbon (C) accumulation is of fundamental importance
given their potential to mitigate climate change. Much research has focused on
the relationship between plant traits and C sequestration, but no studies to
date have quantitatively considered traits of their mycorrhizal symbionts.Here,
we use a modelling approach to assess the contribution of an important
mycorrhizal fungal trait, organic nutrient uptake, to soil C accumulation. We
show that organic nutrient uptake can significantly increase soil C storage, and
that it has a greater effect under nutrient-limited conditions. The main
mechanism behind this was an increase in plant C fixation and subsequent
increased C inputs to soil through mycorrhizal fungi. Reduced decomposition due
to increased nutrient limitation of saprotrophs also played a role. Our results
indicate that direct uptake of nutrients from organic pools by mycorrhizal fungi
could have a signiﬁcant effect on ecosystem
C cycling and storage.
Keywords: Ectomycorrhizas, ericoid mycorrhizas, microbial nutrient limitation, model, mycorrhizal traits, MySCaN, organic nutrient uptake, soil carbon storage.