Arbuscular Mycorrhizae of Phormium Tenax in a restored New Zealand wetland across hydrological gradients
New Zealand has lost over 90% of its former wetlands and many that remain are in a degraded state. Restoration projects are often impeded by the failure of native plants to establish back into non-native dominated communities. Phormium tenax is fast growing and acts a nurse plant in wetlands, accelerating the establishment of slower growing native woody species. The roles of below ground organisms are increasingly recognised as affecting plant community dynamics, and this study investigates the diversity of a group of pervasive organisms, the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), growing in symbiosis with Phormium tenax. Next generation sequencing was used to create two libraries to determine the sensitivity of coding and non-coding molecular markers when characterising the AMF community associated with Phormium tenax. AMF communities colonising individual plants were found to be diverse, and varied across restoration stages, but uncorrelated with soil moisture. The composition of of AMF communities changed seasonally and I observed more AMF hyphae and arbuscules in winter.