Oak decline is generally accepted to be the result of a dynamic interaction between oaks and a mix of abiotic and biotic causes, within which environmental stresses (drought, salinity, frost, low fertility) may be important as predisposing factors. As a result of these interactions, trees gradually begin to show symptoms of general suffering, which below ground consist of functional and anatomical modifications to the rootlets and changes in the ectomycorrhizal status. The present study was performed in a coastal Quercus ilex forest, where decline symptoms appeared after heavy land reclamation in the adjoining areas, which caused a rapid lowering of the ground water level and the underground intrusion of seawater from the neighbouring Adriatic Sea into the forest itself. A forest survey including examination of rootlet features from asymptomatic and declining trees suggested that drought and salinity were involved in this decline. The relative frequency of the most recurrent ectomycorrhizal morphotypes distinguished clearly between asymptomatic, weakly declining and strongly declining trees, suggesting that the occurrence and distribution of only a limited number of morphotypes can give an indication of the severity of the decline. Moreover, of all the morphotypes observed only one third were found in all three decline classes, while the remaining two thirds were gradually replaced by others as the proportion of declining trees increased, where the number of morphotypes was greater. The hypothesis of an adaptive response of the ectomycorrhizal community to decline or to the predisposing factors of decline is discussed.

Changes in ectomycorrhizal diversity in a declining Quercus ilex coastal forest

MONTECCHIO, LUCIO
Investigation
;
CAUSIN, ROBERTO;ROSSI, SERGIO;MUTTO ACCORDI, SERGIO
2004

Abstract

Oak decline is generally accepted to be the result of a dynamic interaction between oaks and a mix of abiotic and biotic causes, within which environmental stresses (drought, salinity, frost, low fertility) may be important as predisposing factors. As a result of these interactions, trees gradually begin to show symptoms of general suffering, which below ground consist of functional and anatomical modifications to the rootlets and changes in the ectomycorrhizal status. The present study was performed in a coastal Quercus ilex forest, where decline symptoms appeared after heavy land reclamation in the adjoining areas, which caused a rapid lowering of the ground water level and the underground intrusion of seawater from the neighbouring Adriatic Sea into the forest itself. A forest survey including examination of rootlet features from asymptomatic and declining trees suggested that drought and salinity were involved in this decline. The relative frequency of the most recurrent ectomycorrhizal morphotypes distinguished clearly between asymptomatic, weakly declining and strongly declining trees, suggesting that the occurrence and distribution of only a limited number of morphotypes can give an indication of the severity of the decline. Moreover, of all the morphotypes observed only one third were found in all three decline classes, while the remaining two thirds were gradually replaced by others as the proportion of declining trees increased, where the number of morphotypes was greater. The hypothesis of an adaptive response of the ectomycorrhizal community to decline or to the predisposing factors of decline is discussed.
2004
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/2431307
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