What drives habitat selection in mycoheterotrophic plants: abiotic factors or symbiotic associations? A case study of Pseudorchis albida (Orchidaceae)

Name: What drives habitat selection in mycoheterotrophic plants: abiotic factors or symbiotic associations? A case study of Pseudorchis albida (Orchidaceae)
Researchers: Kohout Petr (co-researcher)
Vohník Martin (co-researcher)
Project Type: B - national grants (GA ČR, GA AVČR)
Realization from: 2010
Realization to: 2014
Summary: The project aims to answer some critical questions on principles of habitat selection in mycoheterotrophic plants (MH), which at least partially depend on carbon supplied by soil fungi. The availability of suitable mycorrhizal partners was therefore proposed to determine the range of habitats allowing the successful growth of these plants. However, it is neither fully known to which extent is the distribution of fungi a limiting factor, nor how much is successful establishment at new habitats dependent on other (a)biotic factors. Using an orchid Pseudorchis albida as a model MH plant, we will address diverse aspects of germination ecology to reveal factors affecting the distribution pattern of MH plants. Specifically we want to investigate (i) germination at recent, historical and new sites by linking germination failure to edaphic factors or absence of a suitable fungus, (ii) the spectrum of fungi the orchid can utilize over broad geographical range and (iii) benefits for successful recruitment arising from utilization of a common mycelial network of surrounding mycorrhizal plants.

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