Mycorrhizal colonization of multiple sand dune-building grasses
Authors: Alexandra Rubin, Christine Angelini
Faculty Mentor: Christine Angelini
College: Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
Mycorrhizae have played a vital role in sustaining plant growth for millions of years. These fungi form mutualist relationships where the mycorrhizae supply their host plants with nitrogen and water, and plants in turn provide mycorrhizae with sugars. This symbiotic relationship suffers in ecosystems which have been disturbed by human activity resulting in a decline of mycorrhizae. Many journals have been published in accordance to mycorrhizae research, but a knowledge gap has been formed due to lack of publishing in the 21st century. In the present article, we develop an approach to understand the concentration of mycorrhizae throughout a sand dune and what affect that has on the community. Our review studies closely the quantification of mycorrhizal infection in Sea Oat and Spartina plants found in sand dunes on Sapelo Island, Georgia. This study focuses on two types of plants, in 30 plots from three different sections of the sand dune; beachfront, midlevel, and upper level. All roots went through a staining process in the lab to visually quantify amounts of arbuscules and hyphae. From initial observation there are high levels of infection throughout the plots. Thus, this sand dune has relatively healthy plants with high nutrient and water availability.
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