Relationships between mycorrhizal fungi and colonization of Salicornia cytotypes: implications for ecosystem functioning

Duration of the project: 2014 - 2017

Contact: Rodica Pena, Email: rpena(at)
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning across marine and terrestrial ecosystems (BEFmate) Project aims to understand the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem function in an integrated manner across marine and terrestrial ecosystems. In this project, we investigate the genetics and ecology of saltwort (Salicornia) and its association with root endophytic fungi. DNA analysis enables to discriminate between diploid and tetraploid cytotypes of Salicornia europaea, each of them inhabiting own ecological niche. Physiological and morphological differences induced by polyploidy may have important effects on the organization of plant- fungal interactions.

Our objectives are

  • to estimate fungal colonization of the two Salicornia cytotypes

  • to correlate fungal communities to cytotypes and their niche

  • to assess soil spore density

  • to investigate the survival and establishment rate of Salicornia in presence and absence of different fungal assemblages

  • to evaluate the fungal abilities to improve Salicornia fitness.

This is a collaborative work with Dirk Albach's group (Biodiversity and Evolution of Plants) at Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg conducted by the PhD student Niklas Buhk.
Pena, R (2014) Mycorrhizae from beech to beach. Forest Botany and Plant Physiology seminar, Göttingen, Germany (01 Dec 2014).

This project is financially supported by Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony.