Spatial structure within root systems moderates stability of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal mutualism and plant-soil feedbacks

Jacob Hopkins, Sarah Richardson & James Bever
The persistence of mutualisms is paradoxical, as there are fitness incentives for exploitation. This is particularly true for plant-microbe mutualisms like arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM), which are promiscuously, horizontally-transmitted. Preferential allocation by hosts to the best mutualist can stabilize horizontal mutualisms, however preferential allocation is imperfect, with its fidelity likely depending upon the spatial structure of symbionts in plant roots. In this study, we tested AM mutualisms’ dependence on two dimensions of spatial structure: the initial...
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