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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

The High Arctic switch from ericoid- to ecto- mycorrhiza in Cassiope tetragona ssp. tetragona, RIS ID 6648

Awarded: NOK 30,867

Cassiope tetragona spp. tetragona spread out fast after the last glaciation, and is the only Cassiope species that have managed to spread out and reach a circumpolar range. Cassiope belongs to Ericaceae, and have usually ericoid mycorrhiza. However, in Hi gh Arctic areas, this species have been found to have ecto-mycorrhiza. Is this shift from ericoid to ecto-mycorrhiza connected to temperature? And thus have released Cassope from a restricting mutualistic relationship, allowing it to spread further north and more efficient than the other species in this genus? We want to test whether Cassope shift to ecto-mycorrhiza in colder environments. We plan to harvest roots of Cassiope in the natural environment over a climatic gradient, as well as from plants that have grown within OTC chambers, which have artificially increased the summer temperatures with 1-2 degrees the last 5-6 years, and from control plots. Further, Cassiope will be harvested within an experimental set up where snow depth has been manipulated . We will also collect root samples of Cassiope in control plots. At the lab, DNA extraction from roots will be performed, and amplicon sequencing using High throughput sequencing technology will be used to assess the fungal partners.

Funding scheme:

SSF-Svalbard Science Forum