Mercer, Charlene , Eppley, Sarah .
Sex-specific variations in root colonization by mycorrhizal fungi in a dioecious grass, Distichlis spicata (Poaceae).
Associations between mycorrhizal fungi and plants can influence intraspecific competition and shape plant population structure. Inside the roots of plants from more than 80% of all families today, a mutualistic relationship exists between plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (AMF) that is thought to have evolved 353-460 mya in the first land plants. While variation in plant genotypes is known to cause differences in mycorrhizal colonization in crop systems, little is known about how genotypes affect colonization in other types of plant populations or how the sex of the plant might influence colonization with mycorrhizal fungi in plant species with dimorphic sexual systems. In this study, we analyzed mycorrhizal colonization in males and females of the wetland dioecious grass Distichlis spicata, which exhibits extreme spatial segregation of the sexes. Our results suggest that D. spicata males and females interact with mycorrhizal fungi differently; in females, examined roots had significantly higher colonization than in males and this sex-specific difference did not chance during the reproductive season. We discuss the implications for the role of this sex-specific symbiotic interaction in the maintenance of the within-population sex ratio bias exhibited by D. spicata.
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1 - Portland State University, Department of Biology,, P.O. Box 751, Portland, Oregon, 97207-0751, USA
2 - Portland State University, Biology Department, Po Box 751, Portland, Oregon, 97207-0751, USA
Spatial Segregation of the Sexes (SSS)
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for BSA Sections
Location: Event Tent/Cliff Lodge
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 5:30 PM