Diversity and structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal commmunities and their chemical drivers across dryland habitats in Qatar

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Sakeenah Adenan, Jane Oja, Juha M. Alatalo, Amjad Shraim, Mohammed Hussain Alsafran, Leho Tedersoo, Martin Zobel, Talaat Ahmed


Qatar is largely characterized by a hyper-arid climate and low soil fertility, which combine to create a stressful soil environment for arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Here we present a study on AM fungi communities and their relationship to soil chemical characteristics. We used high-throughput seqeuncing technique for identifying AM fungal diversity and community composition from different habitat types across Qatar. We found 127 AM fungal taxa, of which majority wee members of the family Glomeraceae. In contrast to what was hypothesized, AM fungi were mainly influenced by soil phosphorous and potassium. Chemical soil properties explained 76% of the variation in AM fungi between locations. The lowest AM fungal diversity was observed in barren areas and sand dunes, possibly due to low bioavailability of total nitrogen, while the highest diversity was observed in well-developed grass patches. Present AM fungi in Qatar were not affected by soil and pH; these fungi have likely been exposed to high salinities through their evolutionary history in the region, favoring resistant AM fungi through natural selection. These findings provide baseline information on AM fungal assemblages from the Arabian Peninsula, and thus contribute to better understanding of global patterns of AM fungi and their chemical drivers.




Biodiversity, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Desert Ecology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences


arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, dryland, environmental DNA, heavy metals, High-throughput sequencing, microbiota, soil salinity


Published: 2020-11-23 04:14

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