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Objectives: The success of restoration plantings depends on the capacity of transplanted individuals or seeds to establish and reproduce. It is increasingly recognized that restoration success depends quite heavily upon biotic interactions and belowground processes. Under stressful abiotic conditions, such as soils salinized by storm surge and sea level rise, symbiotic interactions with soil microbes such as mycorrhizae may be critically important. In this study, we investigate the impact of salinity on percent colonization of roots by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, in addition to the impacts of this colonization on plant fitness under saline conditions. Fifty Galactia smallii plants from an ex situ collection were subjected to a salinity treatment for 6 weeks, and 50 plants were untreated. Plants were harvested and assessed for percent colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, nodule number, shoot and root dry biomass, and micronutrient content. Results: Colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizae was higher in plants in the salinity treatment than in untreated plants; plants in the salinity treatment were also found to have a lower root:shoot ratio, and higher phosphorus and nitrogen levels. These results support the importance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in restoration efforts of endangered plants in fragmented and threatened ecosystems, such as pine rocklands.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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