Finse Alpine Research Center (map)
P.O. Box 53
Mycorrhiza – the mutual beneficial co-existence between fungi and plant at the root level – is crucial for the composition and function of terrestrial plant ecosystems. Mycorrhizal fungi release, absorb and transfer nutrients, minerals and water from the external environment into the plants and receive in turn photosynthases. Bistorta vivipara is a perennial plant common in arctic and alpine habitats. It reproduces both asexually with so-called bulbils (yngleknopper) as well as sexually. Due to its small and condensed root system the entire root system of B. vivipara and the associated fungal root symbionts can be analyzed simultaneously. Therefore, we consider B. vivipara as a highly suitable model plant for studies in mycorrhizal ecology. To analyze and target the diversity, composition and distribution of fungal symbionts, cloning and DNA sequencing (both traditional Sanger and 454 pyrosequencing) will be performed and followed up by bioinformatics analyses of the sequence data. The fungal communities associated with B. vivipara will be investigated along various ecological gradients and we also plan more experimental studies.