Arbuscular mycorrhizal trees influence the latitudinal beta-diversity gradient of tree communities in forests worldwide

Yonglin Zhong, Chengjin Chu* (Corresponding Author), Jonathan A Myers, Gregory S Gilbert, James A Lutz, Jonas Stillhard, Kai Zhu, Jill Thompson, Jennifer L Baltzer, Fangliang He, Joseph A LaManna, Stuart J Davies, Kristina J Aderson-Teixeira, David F R P Burslem, Alfonso Alonso, Kuo-Jung Chao, Xugao Wang, Lianming Gao, David A Orwig, Xue YinXinghua Sui, Zhiyao Su, Iveren Abiem, Pulchérie Bissiengou, Norm Bourg, Nathalie Butt, Min Cao, Chia-Hao Chang-Yang, Wei-Chun Chao, Hazel Chapman, Yu-Yun Chen, David A Coomes, Susan Cordell, Alexandre A de Oliveira, Hu Du, Suqin Fang, Christian P Giardina, Zhanqing Hao, Andrew Hector, Stephen P Hubbell, David Janík, Patrick A Jansen, Mingxi Jiang, Guangze Jin, David Kenfack, Kamil Král, Andrew J Larson, Buhang Li, Xiankun Li, Yide Li, Juyu Lian, Luxiang Lin, Feng Liu, Yankun Liu, Yu Liu, Fuchen Luan, Yahuang Luo, Keping Ma, Yadvinder Malhi, Sean M McMahon, William McShea, Hervé Memiaghe, Xiangcheng Mi, Mike Morecroft, Vojtech Novotny, Michael J O'Brien, Jan den Ouden, Geoffrey G Parker, Xiujuan Qiao, Haibao Ren, Glen Reynolds, Pavel Samonil, Weiguo Sang, Guochun Shen, Zhiqiang Shen, Guo-Zhang Michael Song, I-Fang Sun, Hui Tang, Songyan Tian, Amanda L Uowolo, María Uriarte, Bin Wang, Xihua Wang, Youshi Wang, George D Weiblen, Zhihong Wu, Nianxun Xi, Wusheng Xiang, Han Xu, Kun Xu, Wanhui Ye, Mingjian Yu, Fuping Zeng, Minhua Zhang, Yingming Zhang, Li Zhu, Jess K Zimmerman

*Corresponding author for this work

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Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (EcM) associations are critical for host-tree performance. However, how mycorrhizal associations correlate with the latitudinal tree beta-diversity remains untested. Using a global dataset of 45 forest plots representing 2,804,270 trees across 3840 species, we test how AM and EcM trees contribute to total beta-diversity and its components (turnover and nestedness) of all trees. We find AM rather than EcM trees predominantly contribute to decreasing total beta-diversity and turnover and increasing nestedness with increasing latitude, probably because wide distributions of EcM trees do not generate strong compositional differences among localities. Environmental variables, especially temperature and precipitation, are strongly correlated with beta-diversity patterns for both AM trees and all trees rather than EcM trees. Results support our hypotheses that latitudinal beta-diversity patterns and environmental effects on these patterns are highly dependent on mycorrhizal types. Our findings highlight the importance of AM-dominated forests for conserving global forest biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3137
Number of pages12
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2021

Bibliographical note

This research paper was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31925027, 31622014 and 31570426) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (20lgpy116). Funding and citation information for each forest plot is available in Supplementary References.

Full raw census data are available on reasonable request from the ForestGEO (https:// Bioclimatic variables and solar radiation are available from the WorldClim Database ( and potential evapotranspiration and aridity index are available from the Global Aridity Index (Global-Aridity) and Global Potential Evapo-Transpiration (Global-PET) Geospatial Database (https://cgiarcsi. community/data/global-aridity-and-pet-database/).


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