ARANDA RICKERT adriana Marina
Subterranean desert rodents (Ctenomys sp.) create soil patches enriched in root endophytic fungal propagules
MIRANDA V.; ROTHEN, C.; YELA N.; ARANDA RICKET A.; BARROS J.; CALCAGNO, J.; FRACCHIA, S.
Año: 2018 vol. 77 p. 451 - 459
Subterranean rodents are considered major soil engineers, as they can locally modify soil properties by their burrowing activities. In this study the effect of a subterranean rodent of the genus Ctenomyson soil properties and root endophytic fungal propagules in a shrub desert of northwest Argentina was examined. Our main goal was to include among root endophytic fungi not only arbuscular mycorrhiza but also the dark septate endophytes. We compared the abundance of fungal propagules as well as several microbiological and physicochemical parameters between soils from burrows and those from the surrounding landscape. Our results show that food haulage, the deposition of excretions, and soil mixing by rodents burrowing promote soil patchiness by: 1) the enrichment in both types of root endophytic fungal propagules, 2) the increase in organic matter and nutrients,and 3) changes in soil edaphic properties including moisture, field capacity and texture. These patches may play a critical role as a source of soil heterogeneity in desert ecosystems, where burrows constructed in interpatches of bare soil can act,once abandoned, as islands of fertility.