Date of Award


Document Type

Master's report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Ecology (MS)

College, School or Department Name

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Erik A. Lilleskov


The nutrient uptake response of ectomycorrhizal fungi (ECM) to different nutrient substrates is a driving force in ecosystem nutrient cycling. We hypothesized that taxa from low nitrogen (N) soils would be more likely to use organic N compared to taxa from high N soils, and that taxa from high N would be more likely to use organic phosphorus (P) sources when compared to the ECM dominant in low N soils. This study focuses on the growth response of ECM species collected over a N gradient to different forms of N and P nutrient substrates and whether ECM growth in a particular nutrient source can be related to how the ECM fungi have responded to elevated N in the field. This study found a mixed ECM response to organic and inorganic N and P treatments. High affinity N taxa expected to respond positively to inorganic N produced the phosphatase enzyme to take up organic phosphorus, but not all low affinity N taxa expected to negatively respond to organic P produced the protease enzyme to take up organic N. Interspecific variability was displayed by some high and low affinity N taxa responded and ECM intraspecific variability in response to N and P treatments was also noted. Future analysis of may show more evident ECM response patterns to inorganic and organic forms of N and P.