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Title: Native ectomycorrhizal fungi of limber and whitebark pine: Necessary for forest sustainability?

Author: Cripps, Cathy L.; Antibus, Robert K.;

Date: 2011

Source: In: Keane, Robert E.; Tomback, Diana F.; Murray, Michael P.; Smith, Cyndi M., eds. The future of high-elevation, five-needle white pines in Western North America: Proceedings of the High Five Symposium. 28-30 June 2010; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-63. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 37-44.

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Ectomycorrhizal fungi are an important component of northern coniferous forests, including those of Pinus flexilis (limber pine) and P. albicaulis (whitebark pine) which are being decimated by white pine blister rust and mountain pine beetles. Ectomycorrhizal fungi are known to promote seedling establishment, tree health, and may play a role in forest sustainability. The goal of this research is to discover the native ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with these two pines in the Rocky Mountain region. Here we report 32 species of ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with whitebark pine, 26 with limber pine, with an overlap of 14 species (primarily suilloids). The ectomycorrhizal fungi can be grouped into 1. generalists, 2. western conifer associates, 3. calcareous species (limber pine) and 4. specialists for five-needle pine or stone pines (primarily suilloids). Some of the Suillus species occur with stone pines globally, suggesting a long co-evolutionary history and important ecological roles. Their association with limber pines is newly reported. These five-needle pine specialists could confer a competitive advantage over spruce and fir when present. A preliminary study of the physiology of the suilloid fungi reveals intra- and inter-specific variation in pH preference/tolerance in vitro. Strains with limber pines from calcareous sites exhibit a broader pH tolerance than those found with whitebark pine which is restricted to high elevations. It is hoped that these efforts contribute to an understanding of the native ectomycorrhizal fungi with whitebark and limber pine and provide information useful towards sustaining these tree species, including strain selection for inoculation of nursery seedlings.

Keywords: high elevation five-needle pines, threats, whitebark, Pinus albicaulis, limber, Pinus flexilis, southwestern white, Pinus strobiformis, foxtail, Pinus balfouriana, Great Basin bristlecone, Pinus longaeva, Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine, Pinus aristata

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Cripps, Cathy L.; Antibus, Robert K. 2011. Native ectomycorrhizal fungi of limber and whitebark pine: Necessary for forest sustainability? In: Keane, Robert E.; Tomback, Diana F.; Murray, Michael P.; Smith, Cyndi M., eds. The future of high-elevation, five-needle white pines in Western North America: Proceedings of the High Five Symposium. 28-30 June 2010; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-63. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 37-44.

 


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