Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2019, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (2): 85-93.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2018.0242

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of Epichloë infection on the diversity and productivity of Achnatherum sibiricum community under various nutrient and mowing conditions

WU Man,LI Juan-Juan,LIU Jin-Ming,REN An-Zhi(),GAO Yu-Bao   

  1. College of Life Sciences, Nankai University, Tianjin 300071, China
  • Received:2018-10-02 Accepted:2019-01-11 Online:2019-02-20 Published:2019-06-04
  • Contact: REN An-Zhi
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Key R&D Program of China(2016YFC0500702);the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31570433).(31570433)

Abstract: <i>Aims</i>

Epichloë infection can affect the intraspecific and interspecific competitive ability of the host plants. However, few studies have been reported on the effects of endophyte infection on the diversity and productivity of host communities.


We used endophyte-infected (E+) and uninfected (E-) Achnatherum sibiricum, plus five other common species in its native community to construct a microcosm plant community to investigate the community-level consequences of endophyte interactions under different nutrient and mowing treatments.

<i>Important findings</i>

Community-level consequences of endophyte infection depend on the mowing treatment. Endophyte infection did not alter plant community diversity under non-mowing conditions. Under mowing conditions, however, endophyte infection significantly increased the diversity by increasing the abundance of lower abundance species such as Agropyron cristatum and Stipa grandis, while decreasing the abundance of dominant species such as Leymus chinensis. No significant endophyte effect on the productivity of plant community was found. With respect to nutrient treatments, we found that nutrient addition had no significant effect either on the diversity or productivity of the plant community. The positive effect of endophyte on A. sibiricum occurred only under nutrient addition treatment in the host species level.

Key words: fungal endophyte, Achnatherum sibiricum, community diversity, productivity, abundance