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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Inocluation of ectomycorrhizal fungi in the IDFdk2 biogeoclimatic zone of British Columbia : new techniques, fungi and outplanting trials Chapman, William Kenneth


Ectomycorrhizal fungi were used to alter seedling performance in a normal reforestation situation. This work was conducted in a precisely defined, natural ecological situation, so that future work can be compared to this, and an understanding of the behaviour of ectomycorrhizal fungi, under the conditions defined in this study, can be developed over time. In addition, specific problems in applied mycorrhizal research, such as the culture of fungi, inoculation in nurseries and examination of ectomycorrhizae were addressed, and new techniques developed. Fungi from a variety of sources were screened, using a new near-pure culture synthesis apparatus. Certain fungi were selected and grown to volume, using a new fungus culture technique. Seedlings in a commercial nursery were successfully inoculated, using two procedures. One procedure involved the injection of mycelial slurry into container plugs and the other involved application of the slurry to the surface of root plugs. The performance of the inoculated seedlings and mycorrhizal fungi in the nursery was evaluated. Shoot growth of the seedlings was increased or decreased, depending on the type of fungus. Even very low levels of infection by Suillus tomentosus (3.55%) increased the growth of lodgepole pine seedlings. Seedlings of lodgepole pine and Engelmann spruce that formed mycorrhizae with E-strain (sensu Mikola), Amphinema byssoides (Fr.) J. Erikss. or Suillus tomentosus (Kauff.) Sing., Snell & Dick were transplanted to the field into a “normal reforestation” situation. In general, the differences in growth from the nursery, persisted after one field season. The behaviour of the inoculated mycorrhizal fungi on egressed roots is described, including the encroachment of wild fungi, the growth of the inoculated fungus onto new roots and the behavior of Thelephora terrestris Ehrhart: Fr. In the field. A low-toxicity dye (FDA Blue No. 1), not previously used for examining ectomycorrhizae, was evaluated and a procedure for the relatively fast and detailed description of ectomycorrhizae is outlined. This work suggests a minimum basic protocol for conducting outplanting trials to insure that meaningful information on the behaviour and function of ectomycorrhizae can be collected in future experiments. The major tenets of the protocol are that sites should be described using a comprehensive ecological classification system, mycorrhizae on natural seedlings at the study site should be described, the mycorrhizae on seedlings at outplantlng should be described and monitored over the short term and long term, a wide variety of fungi should be used in outplanting trials in normal reforestation situations, cultural and inoculation techniques need to be improved and growth and survival need to be monitored over the short and long terms. If ectomycorrhizae evaluation trials do not supply certain basic information, it may be a very long time before it is understood how ectomycorrhizal fungi respond to the type of site conditions found in normal reforestation situations.

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