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Genome, Phenome, Environment, and Evolution of Land Plants

Beerling, David, J. [1], Humphreys, Claire [1], Bidartondo, Martin, I. [2], Cameron, Duncan D [3], Leake, Jonathan, R. [1].

First evidence for the functional nature of mycorrhizal fungal associations in an extant early land plant group.

The invasion of the land by terrestrial photosynthetic organisms over 450 million years ago was one of the most far reaching chapters in Earth history. Over thirty years ago, Pyrozinski and Malloch provocatively hypothesized that ancient lineages of symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi played a pivotal role in this process by providing the limited rhizoid/root systems of early land plants with increased absorptive capabilities for mineral nutrient uptake from skeletal soils. Although this idea has subsequently become increasingly established with support from both palaeobotanical and molecular investigations, and structural analyses of fungal associations of extant ‘lower’ plants, direct evidence of the functionality of these proposed plant-fungus interactions in nature has yet to be investigated. Moreover, the potential that the functioning of AM-liverwort associations at the elevated CO2 concentrations (x10-15 preindustrial) predicted during the early Paleozoic (450-400 Ma) has never been previously considered. This presentation will report new results from a series of experiments using stable- and radio-isotope tracers (15N and 33P) to resolve the pathways of nutrient uptake in liverworts via AM fungi, and reciprocal net carbon transfer from plant-to-fungus (13C and 14C) at current and palaeo- CO2 concentrations thereby investigating the potential for mutualism in the symbiosis for the first time.


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1 - University of Sheffield, Animal and Plant Sciences, Alfred Denny Building, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S10 2TN, UK
2 - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, TW9 3DS, UK
3 - University of Sheffield, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, Alfred Denny Building, Western Bank, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S10 2TN, UK

Keywords:
liverwort
arbuscular mycorrhiza
nutrient supply.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY4
Location: Ballroom 2/Cliff Lodge - Level B
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009
Time: 4:45 PM
Number: SY4008
Abstract ID:323


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