My thesis is finally online!

If you want to read about the effects of mycorrhizas on ecological processes it’s here -> http://hdl.handle.net/1866/25266

Four chapters in English and Introduction + Discussion in French!

Abstract

Mycorrhizas, which involve plants and fungi, are probably the most important and widespread mutual symbioses in terrestrial ecosystems. Since most trees form arbuscular mycorrhizas or ectomycorrhizas that are ecophysiologically distinct from each other, it is useful to characterize forests according to their mycorrhizal dominance in order to measure their respective impacts on ecological processes. The objective of this thesis is to quantify the impacts of forest mycorrhizal dominance on the abiotic and biotic properties of the soil, which influence at the local scale two associated processes: the decomposition of organic matter and the maintenance of plant diversity. The forests studied have opposite mycorrhizal dominance exhibit distinct soil physico-chemical properties and microbial communities, but more similar vertical distribution patterns of microorganisms than expected. Decomposition is favored by organic matter in the upper soil layers, but also by the presence of the fungal network, especially when ectomycorrhizas predominate, illustrating the importance of the local environmental context. Establishment of arbuscular mycorrhizal tree may be limited by the combination of abiotic and biotic edaphic factors of the boreal forest, which is ectomycorrhizal-dominated, in contrast to forests with shared dominance between arbuscular mycorrhizas and ectomycorrhizas, where tree species diversity is favored at the community level. This thesis demonstrates the decisive role, at the local scale, played by mycorrhizal dominance on ecological processes, and raises the importance of soil biotic and abiotic heterogeneity to better understand the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems.

Keywords: Plant-soil interactions, microbial biodiversity, saprotrophic fungi, northern broadleaf temperate forest, temperate-boreal ecotone, sugar maple, American beech, boreal forest, carbon cycle, climate change.