Preliminary assessment of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal diversity and community structure in an urban ecosystem

Jamaica R. Cousins, Diane Hope, Corinna Gries, Jean C. Stutz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) species richness, composition, spore density and diversity indices were evaluated in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Arizona, USA at 20 sampling sites selected to represent the four predominant land-use types found in the greater urban area: urban-residential, urban non-residential, agriculture and desert. AMF spores were extracted and identified from soil samples and from trap cultures established using soil collected at each site. Data were analyzed according to land use, land-use history, soil chemistry and vegetation characteristics at each site. Current agricultural sites were associated with decreased spore densities and historically agricultural sites with decreased species richness. Overall species composition was similar to that previously reported for the Sonoran desert, but composition at each sampling site was influenced by the vegetation from which samples were collected. Sites with the highest degrees of similarity in AMF species composition were also similar to each other in native plants or land use. Conversely, sites with the lowest similarity in AMF composition were those from which the majority of samples were collected from non-mycorrhizal plants, predominately ectomycorrhizal plants or bare soil. Spores of Glomus microggregatum were most abundant in urban sites, while those of G. eburneum were most abundant in desert and agricultural sites. Further studies are needed to determine the functional implications of shifts in AMF communities in urban ecosystems, including effects on plant primary productivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-326
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • Diversity
  • LTER
  • Sonoran Desert
  • Urban ecosystems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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