A previous study of 76 plant species on Spitsbergen in the High Arctic concluded that structures resembling arbuscular mycorrhizas were absent from roots. Here, we report a survey examining the roots of 13 grass and forb species collected from 12 sites on the island for arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) colonisation. Of the 102 individuals collected, we recorded AM endophytes in the roots of 41 plants of 11 species (Alopecurus ovatus, Deschampsia alpina, Festuca rubra ssp. richardsonii, putative viviparous hybrids of Poa arctica and Poa pratensis, Poa arctica ssp. arctica, Trisetum spicatum, Coptidium spitsbergense, Ranunculus nivalis, Ranunculuspygmaeus, Ranunculus sulphureus and Taraxacum arcticum) sampled from 10 sites. Both coarse AM endophyte, with hyphae of 5–10 μm width, vesicles and occasional arbuscules, and fine endophyte, consisting of hyphae of 1–3 μm width and sparse arbuscules, were recorded in roots. Coarse AM hyphae, vesicles, arbuscules and fine endophyte hyphae occupied 1.0–30.7, 0.8–18.3, 0.7–11.9 and 0.7–12.8% of the root lengths of colonised plants, respectively. Principal component analysis indicated no associations between the abundances of AM structures in roots and edaphic factors. We conclude that the AM symbiosis is present in grass and forb roots on Spitsbergen.
Authors: Newsham, K.K., Eidesen, P.B., Davey, M.L., Axelsen, J., Courtecuisse, E., Flintrop, C., Johansson, A.G., Kiepert, M., Larsen, S.E., Lorbereau, K., Maurset, M., McQuilkin, J., Misiak, M., Pop, A., Thompson, S., Read, D.J.