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Changing partners in the dark: Isotopic and molecular evidence of ectomycorrhizal liaisons between forest orchids and trees

Title data

Bidartondo, Martin I. ; Burghardt, Bastian ; Gebauer, Gerhard ; Bruns, Thomas D. ; Read, David J.:
Changing partners in the dark: Isotopic and molecular evidence of ectomycorrhizal liaisons between forest orchids and trees.
In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B : Biological Sciences. Vol. 271 (2004) . - pp. 1799-1806.
ISSN 1471-2954
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2004.2807

Abstract in another language

In the mycorrhizal symbiosis, plants exchange photosynthates for mineral nutrients acquired by fungi from the soil. This mutualistic arrangement has been subverted by hundreds of mycorrhizal plant species that lack the ability to photosynthesize. The most numerous examples of this behaviour are found in the largest plant family, the Orchidaceae. Although non-photosynthetic orchid species are known to be highly specialized exploiters of the ectomycorrhizal symbiosis, photosynthetic orchids are thought to use free-living saprophytic or pathogenic fungal lineages. However, we present evidence that putatively photosynthetic orchids from five species that grow in the understorey of forests (i) form mycorrhizas with ectomycorrhizal fungi of forest trees and (ii) have stable-isotope signatures indicating distinctive pathways for nitrogen and carbon acquisition approaching those of non-photo synthetic orchids that associate with ectomycorrhizal fungi of forest trees. These findings represent a major shift in our understanding of both orchid ecology and evolution because they explain how orchids can thrive in low-irradiance niches and they show that a shift to exploiting ectomycorrhizal fungi precedes viable losses of photosynthetic ability in orchid lineages.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER25952
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Plant Ecology
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2015 06:34
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2016 11:32
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/19212