Native soil amendments combined with commercial arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi increase biomass of Panicum amarum
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Native soil amendments combined with commercial arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi increase biomass of Panicum amarum

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  • Journal Title:
    Scientific Reports
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    Coastal dune restorations often fail because of poorly performing plants. The addition of beneficial microbes can improve plant performance, though it is unclear if the source of microbes matters. Here, we tested how native soil amendments and commercially available arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi influenced performance of Panicum amarum, a dominant grass on Texas coastal dunes. In a greenhouse experiment, we manipulated the identity of native soil amendments (from P. amarum, Uniola paniculata, or unvegetated areas), the presence of soil microbes in the native soil amendments (live or sterile), and the presence of the commercial AM fungi (present or absent). Native soils from vegetated areas contained 149% more AM fungal spores than unvegetated areas. The commercial AM fungi, when combined with previously vegetated native soils, increased aboveground biomass of P. amarum by 26%. Effects on belowground biomass were weaker, although the addition of any microbes decreased the root:shoot ratio. The origin of native soil amendments can influence restoration outcomes. In this case soil from areas with vegetation outperformed soil from areas without vegetation. Combining native soils with commercial AM fungi may provide a strategy for increasing plant performance while also maintaining other ecosystem functions provided by native microbes.
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    Scientific Reports, 11(1)
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    CC BY
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