Alteration of Soil Carbon Pools and Communities of Mycorrhizal Fungi in Chaparral Exposed to Elevated Carbon Dioxide

Kathleen K. Treseder*, Louise M. Egerton-Warburton, Michael F. Allen, Yufu Cheng, Walter C. Oechel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


We examined the effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) enrichment on belowground carbon (C) pools and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi in a chaparral community in southern California. Chambers enclosing intact mesocosms dominated by Adenostoma fasciculatum were exposed for 3.5 years to CO2 levels ranging from 250 to 750 ppm. Pools of total C in bulk soil and in water-stable aggregates (WSA) increased 1.5- and threefold, respectively, between the 250- and 650-ppm treatments. In addition, the abundance of live AM hyphae and spores rose markedly over the same range of CO2, and the community composition shifted toward dominance by the AM genera Scutellospora and Acaulospora. Net ecosystem exchange of C with the atmosphere declined with CO2 treatment. It appears that under CO 2 enrichment, extra C was added to the soil via AM fungi. Moreover, AM fungi were predominant in WSA and may shunt C into these aggregates versus bulk soil. Alternatively, C may be retained longer within WSA than within bulk soil. We note that differences between the soil fractions may act as a potential feedback on C cycling between the soil and atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-796
Number of pages11
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003


  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • Chaparral
  • Community composition
  • Elevated carbon dioxide
  • Soil carbon
  • Water-stable aggregates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology


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