John Davison's research while affiliated with University of Tartu and other places

Publications (222)

Article
Plants and their environments engage in feedback loops that not only affect individuals, but also scale up to the ecosystem level. Community-level negative feedback facilitates local diversity, while the ability of plants to engineer ecosystem-wide conditions for their own benefit enhances local dominance. Here, we suggest that local and regional p...
Article
Classical theory identifies resource competition as the major structuring force of biotic communities and predicts that: (i) levels of dominance and richness in communities are inversely related, (ii) narrow niches allow dense ‘packing’ in niche space and thus promote diversity, and (iii) dominants are generalists with wide niches, such that locall...
Article
Organisms on our planet form spatially congruent and functionally distinct communities, which at large geographical scales are called “biomes”. Understanding their pattern and function is vital for sustainable use and protection of biodiversity. Current global terrestrial biome classifications are based primarily on climate characteristics and func...
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Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are a ubiquitous group of plant symbionts, yet processes underlying their global assembly — in particular the roles of dispersal limitation and historical drivers — remain poorly understood. Because earlier studies have reported niche conservatism in AM fungi, we hypothesized that variation in taxonomic community c...
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Mycorrhizal symbiosis influences the performance of plant individuals. However, its impact on plant communities is less well understood. We used a database of plant mycorrhizal traits and investigated how community mycorrhization - the prevalence of mycorrhizal symbiosis in plant communities - is related to plant community productivity and diversit...
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Woody plant encroachment affects dry grasslands globally. To predict changes in biodiversity and ecosystem processes, it is important to understand how this process affects the functional composition of grassland organism groups. In this context, seminatural wooded meadows represent a form of experimental manipulation—where open grassland and woody...
Article
Mycorrhizal symbiosis, comprising functionally distinctive plant‐fungus associations, mediates key plant population and community processes, and ultimately the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems (Tedersoo et al., 2020). It is estimated that about 90% of the world’s vascular flora forms mycorrhizal symbioses with soil fungi (Smith & Read, 2008; B...
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Plants involved in the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis trade photosynthetically derived carbon for fungal‐provided soil nutrients. However, little is known about how plant light demand and ambient light conditions influence root‐associating AM fungal communities. We conducted a manipulative field experiment to test whether plants’ shade‐toler...
Article
High‐throughput sequencing (HTS) of multiple organisms in parallel (metabarcoding) has become a routine and cost‐effective method for the analysis of microbial communities in environmental samples. However, careful data treatment is required to identify potential errors in HTS data, and the large volume of data generated by HTS requires in‐house ex...
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The arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are a globally‐distributed group of soil organisms that play critical roles in ecosystem function. However, the ecological niches of individual AM fungal taxa are poorly understood. We collected >300 soil samples from natural ecosystems worldwide and modelled the realized niches of AM fungal virtual taxa (VT; a...
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Deserts cover a significant proportion of the Earth’s surface and continue to expand as a consequence of climate change. Mutualistic arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are functionally important plant root symbionts, and may be particularly important in drought stressed systems such as deserts. Here we provide a first molecular characterization of t...
Article
When foraging and competing for below‐ground resources, plants have to coordinate the behaviour of thousands of root tips in a manner similar to that of eusocial animal colonies. While well described in animals, we know little about the spatial behaviour of plants, particularly at the level of individual roots. Here, we employed statistical methods...
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The present study aimed to investigate the effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal communities originating from organic and conventional agriculture on wheat growth and yield. Six different spring wheat cultivars released in different years in north and central European countries were considered. We hypothesised that AM fungal inoculum collec...
Article
Grasslands are among the most threatened terrestrial biomes, and habitat conservation alone will be insufficient to meet biodiversity goals. While restoration of indigenous grasslands is a priority, conflict with economic objectives means that incorporation of alternative habitats is necessary to offset grassland loss. With up to 800,000 km2 of lan...
Article
Benefits of the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis for associating plants and fungi are modulated by the functional characteristics of both partners. However, it is unknown to what extent functionally distinct groups of plants naturally associate with different AM fungi. We reanalysed 14 high‐throughput sequencing data sets describing AM fungal...
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Although the roles of mycorrhizal fungi in different vegetation types are widely acknowledged, it is still largely unknown how the diversity and frequency of different symbiotic partners vary among plant assemblages globally. We asked (i) how the global distribution of vascular plants correlates with the diversity (i.e. number of species) and frequ...
Article
1.Plant populations can exhibit local adaptation to their abiotic environment, such as climate and soil properties, as well as biotic components such as the chemical signatures of dominant plant species and mutualistic and pathogenic microbial populations. While patterns of local adaptation in individual species are widely recorded, the importance...
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Manioc (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is an important tropical crop that depends on arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) association for its nutrition. However, little is known about the richness and species composition of AM fungal communities associating with manioc and possible differences across soils and manioc landraces. We studied the diversity and compo...
Article
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are obligate plant symbionts that have important functions in most terrestrial ecosystems, but there remains an incomplete understanding of host‐fungus specificity and the relationships between species or functional groups of plants and AM fungi. Here, we aimed to provide a comprehensive description of plant‐AM fun...
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Feedbacks between plants and soil microbial communities play an important role in vegetation dynamics, but the underlying mechanisms remain unresolved. Here, we show that the diversity of putative pathogenic, mycorrhizal, and saprotrophic fungi is a primary regulator of plant-soil feedbacks across a broad range of temperate grassland plant species....
Conference Paper
The arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is a key plant-microbe interaction in sustainable functioning ecosystems. AM fungi can directly benefit plant performance, and indirectly affect plant community structure by mediating biotic interactions. Furthermore, extra-radical hyphae production by mycorrhizal fungi influences soil physical characterist...
Preprint
Island biogeography theory is one of the most influential paradigms in ecology. That island characteristics, including remoteness, can profoundly modulate biological diversity has been borne out by studies of animals and plants. By contrast, the processes influencing microbial diversity in island systems remain largely undetermined. We sequenced ar...
Article
Island biogeography theory is one of the most influential paradigms in ecology. That island characteristics, including remoteness, can profoundly modulate biological diversity has been borne out by studies of animals and plants. By contrast, the processes influencing microbial diversity in island systems remain largely undetermined. We sequenced ar...
Article
Certain forestry and agricultural practices are known to affect arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal communities, but the effects of deforestation – including slash-and-burn management and other more severe disturbances – in tropical rain forests are poorly understood. We addressed the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on rain-forest AM fungal com...
Article
The arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is a key plant‐microbe interaction in sustainable functioning ecosystems. Increasing anthropogenic disturbance poses a threat to AM fungal communities worldwide, but there is little empirical evidence about its potential negative consequences. In this global study we sequenced AM fungal DNA in soil samples...
Article
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is a key plant-microbe interaction in sustainable ecosystems. Increasing land use intensity poses a threat to AM fungal communities, yet little is known of the impact of agricultural land use on AM fungal communities in many regions and cultivation types. The last few decades have witnessed increased cultivatio...
Article
Aim Climatic changes during the Late Pleistocene had major impacts on populations of plant and animal species. Brown bears and other large mammals are likely to have experienced analogous ecological pressures and phylogeographical processes. Here, we address several unresolved issues regarding the Late Pleistocene demography of brown bears: (1) the...
Preprint
Interactions between communities of plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi shape fundamental ecosystem properties. Experimental evidence suggests that compositional changes in plant and AM fungal communities should be correlated, but empirical data from natural ecosystems are scarce. We investigated the dynamics of covariation between plant a...
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DNA-based snapshots of ancient vegetation have shown that the composition of high-latitude plant communities changed considerably during the late Quaternary. However, parallel changes in biotic interactions remain largely uninvestigated. Here we show how mutualisms involving plants and heterotrophic organisms varied during the last 50,000 years. Du...
Article
It is debated whether alien plants in new environments benefit from being mycorrhizal and whether widely distributed natives and aliens differ in their associations with mycorrhizal fungi. Here, we compared whether species differing in their origin status, i.e. natives, archaeophytes (alien species introduced before the year 1500) and neophytes (in...
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The arrival of 454 sequencing represented a major breakthrough by allowing deeper sequencing of environmental samples than was possible with existing Sanger approaches. Illumina MiSeq provides a further increase in sequencing depth but shorter read length compared with 454 sequencing. We explored whether Illumina sequencing improves estimates of ar...
Conference Paper
INTRODUCTION Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal communities are highly influenced by disturbance. However, the response patterns of AM fungal richness have shown to be contrasting, depending on the functional community composition, disturbance type, and ecosystem under investigation. Here we use a global sampling to determine the effects of disturb...
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The availability of global microbial diversity data, collected using standardized metabarcoding techniques, makes microorganisms promising models for investigating the role of regional and local factors in driving biodiversity. Here we modelled the global diversity of symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi using currently available data on AM...
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1. Understanding how the diet of an ecologically important mesopredator varies throughout a large region can provide an insight into the trophic responses of generalist carnivores to global change. We review the diet of the red fox Vulpes vulpes in Europe. 2. The main aims of this study were: (1) to identify biogeographical patterns in red fox diet...
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Aim: Identifying the factors that drive large-scale patterns of biotic interaction is fundamental for understanding how communities respond to changing environmental conditions. Mycorrhizal symbiosis is a key interaction between fungi and most vascular plants. Whether plants are obligately (OM) or facultatively (FM) mycorrhizal, and which mycorrhiz...
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Background and aimsThe majority of terrestrial plant species associate with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, to exchange carbon compounds with nutrients. However, the factors that determine the composition of AM fungal communities in individual plant roots remain poorly understood. We hypothesized that AM fungal communities are simultaneously inf...
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Rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) is of major economic importance in Southeast Asia and for small land holders in Thailand in particular. Due to the high value of latex, plantations are expanding into unsuitable areas, such as the northeast province of Thailand where soil fertility is very low and therefore appropriate management practices are of pr...
Article
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are important root symbionts that enhance plant nutrient uptake and tolerance to pathogens and drought. While the role of plant dispersal in shaping successional vegetation is well studied, there is very little information about the dispersal abilities of AM fungi. We conducted a trap-box experiment in a recently a...
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While the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is known to be widespread in terrestrial ecosystems, there is growing evidence that aquatic plants also form the symbiosis. It has been suggested that symbiosis with AM fungi may represent an important adaptation for isoëtid plants growing on nutrient-poor sediments in oligotrophic lakes. In this stud...
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Land-use change is known to be a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystem services in Mediterranean areas. However, the potential for different host plants to modulate the effect of land-use intensification on arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal community composition is still poorly understood. To test the hypothesis that low land-use intensity pr...
Article
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) occur in the majority of terrestrial, and some aquatic, habitats worldwide. They are important for the functioning of individual plants and of entire ecosystems. Here, we review trends in research on species- (species recognition, phylogenetic relationships, autecology) and community-level AMF diversity patterns a...
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Although mycorrhizas are expected to play a key role in community assembly during ecological succession, little is known about the dynamics of the symbiotic partners in natural systems. For instance, it is unclear how efficiently plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi disperse into early successional ecosystems, and which, if either, symbioti...
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Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are known to exhibit high intra-organism genetic variation. However, information about intra- vs interspecific variation among the genes commonly used in diversity surveys is limited. Here, the nuclear small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene, Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) region, and large subunit (LSU) rRNA gene portions wer...
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The introduction of alien plants can influence biodiversity and ecosystems. However, its consequences for soil microbial communities remain poorly understood. We addressed the impact of alien ectomycorrhizal (EcM) pines on local arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal communities in two regions with contrasting biogeographic histories: in South Africa,...
Article
Bruns and Taylor argue that our finding of widespread distribution among Glomeromycota “virtual taxa” is undermined by the species definition applied. Although identifying appropriate species concepts and accessing taxonomically informative traits are challenges for microorganism biogeography, the virtual taxa represent a pragmatic classification t...
Article
Land-use change is known to be a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystem services in Mediterranean areas. However, the potential for different host plants to modulate the effect of land-use intensification on community composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) is still poorly understood. To test the hypothesis that low land-use intensity...
Article
Full-text available
The global biogeography of microorganisms remains largely unknown, in contrast to the well-studied diversity patterns of macroorganisms. We used arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus DNA from 1014 plant-root samples collected worldwide to determine the global distribution of these plant symbionts. We found that AM fungal communities reflected local en...