What are mycorrhizal traits?

V. Bala Chaudhary, E. Penelope Holland, Suw Charman-Anderson, Aidee Guzman, Lukas Bell-Dereske, Tanya E. Cheeke, Adriana Corrales, Jessica Duchicela, Cameron Egan, Manju M. Gupta, S. Emilia Hannula, Rachel Hestrin, Shabana Hoosein, Amit Kumar, Genet Mhretu, Lena Neuenkamp, Pushpa Soti, Yichun Xie, Thorunn Helgason

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Traits are inherent properties of organisms, but how are they defined for organismal networks such as mycorrhizal symbioses? Mycorrhizal symbioses are complex and diverse belowground symbioses between plants and fungi that have proved challenging to fit into a unified and coherent trait framework. We propose an inclusive mycorrhizal trait framework that classifies traits as morphological, physiological, and phenological features that have functional implications for the symbiosis. We further classify mycorrhizal traits by location – plant, fungus, or the symbiosis – which highlights new questions in trait-based mycorrhizal ecology designed to charge and challenge the scientific community. This new framework is an opportunity for researchers to interrogate their data to identify novel insights and gaps in our understanding of mycorrhizal symbioses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-581
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • community ecology
  • ecosystem function
  • fungal traits
  • mycorrhizas
  • plant traits
  • symbiosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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