Endo- and ectomycorrhizas in Quercus agrifolia Nee. (Fagaceae): Patterns of root colonization and effects on seedling growth

Louise Egerton-Warburton*, Michael F. Allen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


We documented the patterns of root occupancy by Glomalean and ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi in Quercus agrifolia, and host plant responses to inoculation with each mycorrhizal type alone or in combination. Glomalean hyphae, coils and vesicles, and EM root tips were recorded. Colonization patterns conformed to a succession from Glomalean and EM fungi in 1-year-old seedlings to predominantly EM in saplings (≥11 years old); both mycorrhizal types were rarely detected within the same root segment. Inoculation of Q. agrifolia seedlings with EM or Glomalean fungi (AM) alone or in combination (EM+AM) altered the cost:benefit relationship of mycorrhizas to the host plant. Seedling survival, plant biomass, foliar nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) status were greatest in EM- or AM-only inoculated seedlings. Seedlings inoculated with both mycorrhizal types (AM+EM) exhibited the lowest survival rates, biomass, foliar N, and P levels. Roots of these plants were highly colonized by both EM (38% root length colonized) and Glomalean fungi (34%). Because these levels of colonization were similar to those detected in 1-year-old field seedlings, the presence of both mycorrhizal types may be a carbon cost and, in turn, less beneficial to oaks during establishment in the field. However, the shift to EM colonization in older plants suggests that mycorrhizal effects may become positive with time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-290
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001


  • Cost:benefit relationship
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Mycorrhizal succession
  • Oak woodlands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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