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Response to Irradiance Questions

Question 1

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Answer 1

Shade-tolerant plants are adapted and acclimated to low PAR. The usual finding is that the roots are only partially colonised by AM fungi. Thus low to moderate colonisation is the usual case. However, even shade-tolerant plants respond to colonisation in low phosphate soils, and the level of colonisation is determined by the availability of P. Thus low levels of colonisation may be due to adequate concentrations of available P, and thus there will be no response. At low P, low colonisation will result in slower rates of growth of the plant.

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Question 2

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Answer 2

Yes. However, the amount may be minute, because the seedling will only be photosynthesising a small total quantity of carbon. As a consequence, the amount available for the attached mycorrhizal fungi will be minuscule, and the mycelium will only transport to another host a proportion of that taken from the seedling.

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Question 3

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Answer 3

As the density of hyphae increases, more hyphae will deteriorate and more hyphal tips will exude organic carbon into the soil. Thus a stable plant community, which consists of arbuscular mycorrhizal hosts, which is actively growing will have a mature community of mycorrhizal fungi in which hyphae are constantly growing and dieing. The growth would supply carbon from exudation, and the death, material for microbial degradation.

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Question 4

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Question 5

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Question 6

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Question 7

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