Influence of soil microbiota on Taxodium distichum seedling performance during extreme flooding events

Plant Ecology
By: , and 



Plant associations with soil microbiota can modulate tree seedling growth and survival via mutualistic or antagonistic interactions. It is uncertain, however, whether soil microbiota influence seedling growth of coastal trees when exposed to extreme flooding regimes. We evaluated the role of soil microbes in promoting baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) seedling performance under different inundation scenarios and determined the influence of flooding on the colonization of in planta beneficial microbes. Seedlings reared in sterile and non-sterile soil were exposed to three different flooding regimes historically experienced in Louisiana swamps. Seedling growth was assessed, and the colonization by beneficial symbionts such as arbuscular mycorrizhal fungi (AMF), and dark septate endophytes (DSE) was evaluated in harvested roots. Seedlings grown in sterile soil had six times higher growth than seedlings reared in non-sterile soil. As a result, we evaluated pathogen load in the roots by assessing oomycete colonization. Flooding influenced the in planta colonization of DSE and oomycetes, but did not affect the colonization of mutualist AMF fungi. DSE and oomycetes were rarer in flooded conditions, while AMF remained abundant. Seedling biomass production was not correlated with in planta fungal colonization or pathogen load. Soil microbiota can negatively influence baldcypress seedling growth, and no growth benefit was evidenced from the root colonization of mutualist fungi. Flooding can modify baldcypress-fungal interactions by diminishing colonization of DSE. Overall, baldycpress seedlings were more sensitive to the presence of microbiota than flooding, and thus restoration efforts should focus on having a better understanding of plant–microbe interactions in swamps.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Influence of soil microbiota on Taxodium distichum seedling performance during extreme flooding events
Series title Plant Ecology
DOI 10.1007/s11258-020-01059-4
Volume 221
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Description 21 p.
First page 773
Last page 793
Country United States
State Louisiana
Other Geospatial Bayou Chevreuil
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