Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2010, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (12): 1472-1484.DOI: 10.3773/j.issn.1005-264x.2010.12.014

• Review • Previous Articles    

Mycorrhizal plasticity of plant nutrient foraging: a review of ectomycorrhizal plasticity

LIU Yan-Bin1,2, MOU Pu1,3,*()   

  1. 1College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2Institute of Forestry Science, Heilongjiang Academy of Forestry, Harbin 150081, China
    3State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2009-12-21 Accepted:2010-08-23 Online:2010-12-21 Published:2010-12-28
  • Contact: MOU Pu


There has been considerable progress in understanding plant nutrient foraging plasticity in the past three decades, resulting in better comprehension of belowground ecology. However, studies of mycorrhizal plasticity, an important aspect of plant nutrient foraging plasticity, are mostly limited in conceptual development due to methodology restrictions. Without understanding mycorrhizal plasticity, the comprehension of plant root plasticity is incomplete. The rapid development of mycorrhizal biology, especially the involvement of molecular biology approaches, lends the possibility of in-depth study of mycorrhizal plasticity. We focus on ectomycorrhizal plasticity with a brief introduction to basic ectomycorrhizal biology. Few studies have focused on mycorrhizal plasticity specifically, and they have yielded only scattered implications, mostly morphological. Studies on physiological plasticity have been basically absent. Development of study approaches in ectomycorrhizae lends great promise for research on mycorrhizal plasticity. The complexity of ectomycorrhizal foraging plasticity determines the complexity of research and questions to be answered. We address expected directions and questions in ectomycorrhizal foraging plasticity.

Key words: ectomycorrhizal plasticity, morphological plasticity, mycorrhizal plasticity, physiological plasticity, plant nutrient foraging