B07 - Functional diversity of mycorrhizal fungi along a tropical land-use gradient
Roots and their associated fungal microbiomes influence biogeochemical cycle, but their role in tropical ecosystems is barely understood. In phase I we found that intensive land transformation from highly diverse rain forests into rubber jungle, rubber plantations and oil palm monocultures affected root community traits and that these alterations were correlated with changes in litter and soil properties. We also discovered a strong decrease in the diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in rubber and oil palm plantations compared with rain forests. In the current phase we will conduct field experiments to establish functional links between fungal diversity and root nutrient concentrations. For this purpose project B07 will study the taxonomic and functional diversity of litter-inhabiting fungi and litter diversity for organic N re-capture, fungal taxonomic and functional diversity in response to increasing tree diversity in oil plantations enriched by indigenous tree species and the temporal and spatial variation of fungal taxonomic and functional diversity across different land use systems in a range of ecological conditions. We expect that the results on fungal taxonomic and functional diversity will contribute quantitative information for a better understanding of the ecological-socioeconomic trade-offs of tropical forest transformation.