Ectomycorrhizal colonization, biomass, and production in a regenerating scrub oak forest in response to elevated CO2

Published by Ecoss on

The effects of CO2 elevation on the dynamics of fine root (FR) mass and ectomycorrhizal (EM) mass and colonization were studied in situ in a Florida scrub oak system over four years of postfire regeneration. Soil cores were taken at five dates and sorted to assess the standing crop of ectomycorrhizal and fine roots. We used ingrowth bags to estimate the effects of elevated CO2 on production of EM roots and fine roots. Elevated CO2 tended to increase EM colonization frequency but did not affect EM mass nor FR mass in soil cores (standing mass). However, elevated CO2 strongly increased EM mass and FR mass in ingrowth bags (production), but it did not affect the EM colonization frequency therein. An increase in belowground production with unchanged biomass indicates that elevated CO2 may stimulate root turnover. The CO2-stimulated increase of belowground production was initially larger than that of aboveground production. The oaks may allocate a larger portion of resources to root/mycorrhizal production in this system in elevated rather than ambient CO2.