N Enrichment Affects The Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi-mediated Relationship Between A C4 Grass And A Legume
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) regulate soil nutrient cycling, directly supplying a host plant with nitrogen (N). AMF can also affect the outcome of interspecific interactions, but a mechanistic understanding of how soil N availability affects AMF-mediated interspecific relationships is currently lacking. We selected one dominant (Bothriochloa ischaemum; C4 grass) and one subordinate (Lespedeza davurica; legume) species in a natural grassland climax community to investigate the mechanism by which AMF influence interspecific interaction (mixed and monoculture) under three levels of N addition (0, low, and high N addition). Under the non-N addition treatment, AMF preferentially supplied N to the roots of B. ischaemum at the expense of N uptake by L. davurica, resulting in inhibited AMF benefits for L. davurica shoot growth. Under the low N addition treatment, interspecific interaction via AMF promoted L. davurica growth. Compared to the non-N addition treatment, N addition largely mitigated the effects, both positive (for B. ischaemum) and negative (for L. davurica), of AMF-mediated interspecific interaction on plant N uptake via AMF. When soil N availability severely limited plant growth, preferential N supply to the C4 grass by AMF was important for maintaining the abundance of the dominant species. When the N limitation for plant growth was alleviated by N addition, the interaction between AMF and soil microorganisms improved nutrient availability for the legume by stimulating activity of the enzyme responsible for soil organic matter mineralization, which is important for maintaining the abundance of the subordinate species. These data could influence strategies for maintaining biodiversity.