Sara finished her MS in 2003 at SUNY-ESF in the faculty of Environmental and Foresty Biology. The bulk of her thesis, Ectomycorrhizae in simplified ecosystems, dealt with the affects of mycorrhizal fungi on pine establishment on the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and was published in the New Phytologist. Click here for a PDF of her paper (Ashkannejhad S, Horton TR (2006) Ectomycorrhizal ecology under primary succession on coastal sand dunes: interactions involving Pinus contorta, suilloid fungi and deer. New Phytologist 169:345-354.)
•Ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF) are critical for pine establishment under primary succession. The species of EMF supporting primary successional pine seedlings on coastal sand dunes and mechanisms for their establishment were investigated.
•Fungi were identified from ectomycorrhizal roots using molecular techniques. Field seedlings were collected from forested and nonforested zones. Laboratory seedlings were grown in soils collected from the same zones, and in sterile soils inoculated with fresh and 1-yr-old dry deer fecal pellets.
•Suilloid fungi were frequently observed on all seedlings. A diverse group of fungi was available to seedlings in forested zones. A less diverse group of fungi was available to field seedlings in nonforested zones and all laboratory bioassay seedlings. Deer fecal inoculant yielded an average of two EMF per seedling. Both Suillus and Rhizopogon species dominated seedlings inoculated with fresh deer feces, but only Rhizopogon species dominated seedlings inoculated with 1-yr-old feces.
•Suilloid fungi are dispersed by deer, produce resistant spore banks and are the principle fungi supporting seedlings on the sand dunes.