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Reciprocal transfer of carbon isotopes between ectomycorrhizal Betula papyrifera and Pseudotsuga menziesii

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 November 1997

SUZANNE W. SIMARD
Affiliation:
Research Section, Kamloops Forest Region, British Columbia Ministry of Forests, 515 Columbia Street, Kamloops, B.C., V2C 2T7, Canada
MELANIE D. JONES
Affiliation:
Biology Department, Okanagan University College, 3333 College Way, Kelowna, B.C., V1V 1V7, Canada
DANIEL M. DURALL
Affiliation:
Biology Department, Okanagan University College, 3333 College Way, Kelowna, B.C., V1V 1V7, Canada
DAVID A. PERRY
Affiliation:
Forest Science Department, Oregon State University, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, 3200 Jefferson Way, Corvallis, Oregon, 97331, USA
DAVID D. MYROLD
Affiliation:
Crop and Soil Science Department, Oregon State University, Agriculture and Life Sciences Laboratory, Corvallis, Oregon, 97331, USA
RANDY MOLINA
Affiliation:
United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, 3200 Jefferson Way, Corvallis, Oregon, 97331, USA
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Abstract

Interspecific C transfer was studied in laboratory microcosms containing pairs of 6-month-old Betula papyrifera Marsh. and Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco seedlings growing in individual, root-restrictive (28 μm pore size) pouches filled with field soil. Interspecific transfer was examined by reciprocal labelling of seedlings with 13CO2(gas) and 14CO2(gas). At the time of labelling, the root zones of ectomycorrhizal (EM) B. papyrifera and P. menziesii were interconnected by an extensive network of EM mycelium. Carbon transferred through EM connections was distinguished from that through soil pathways by comparing microcosms where interconnecting hyphae were left intact vs. those where they were severed immediately before labelling.

Transfer was bidirectional, and represented 5% of total isotope uptake by both B. papyrifera and P. menziesii together. P. menziesii received on average 50% more 14C and 66% more 13C from paper birch than vice versa, however, differences between species were not statistically significant. Neither net nor bidirectional transfer differed between severing treatments, leaving in question the relative importance of EM hyphae versus soil transfer pathways. The tendency for P. menziesii to receive more isotope than B. papyrifera corresponded with a 10-fold greater net photosynthetic rate per seedling and two-fold greater foliar N concentration of B. papyrifera than P. menziesii.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Trustees of the New Phytologist 1997

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