Gradual environmental changes are determining factors in the disposition of plants and associated organisms, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). The objective of this study was to evaluate the AMF species communities in a tropical semi-arid region of NE Brazil under decreasing clay content at a mountain top area forming a vegetative mosaic of dry forests, savanna-like shrubland and humid montane forests. Through field and trap culture samples, 80 species of AMF were identified belonging to 25 genera, of which Acaulospora
were the most representative. In general, representatives of the order Gigasporales were indicators of sites with lower clay content and showed greater abundance in these sites. As expected, less richness was found in the site with higher clay content, but there was no variation in the Shannon-Weaver index in the gradient studied. The areas showed different assemblies of AMF among the sites with higher and lower clay content, and the main factors structuring the species were carbon, clay and potential acidity. In addition, field samples and trap cultures showed different assemblies; through the use of cultures it was possible to detect additional species. Soil properties have been found to be determinants for the distribution of these microorganisms and further studies in different vegetation types can help to understand the ecological preferences of AMF species.
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