Linking Soil Chemical Parameters and Fungal Diversity in Qatar
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Given the vast expanse of Qatar's dryland ecosystems, agricultural productivity and soil stability is highly dependent on the diversity of soil microbiota. The soil environment is a heterogeneous habitat shaped by various components like chemical (organic matter, salinity and nutrients) and biological (fungal diversity and vegetation) properties that form multitudes of different microhabitats. Soil microbial diversity changes along environmental gradients. It is hypothesized that a "stable" microhabitat is one that is inhabited by a large diversity of established microorganisms that are best adapted to the niche. Microorganisms like fungi serve as the underlying biological drivers for biochemical processes within the soil. The key objective of this study is to evaluate the fungal diversity and abundance present within the Qatari soil using molecular-based tools and evaluate potential relationships between the identified fungal communities with chemical properties of the habitat. We found that the composition of fungi and AMF varied between different habitats around Qatar. Despite the lack of significant differences in the measured soil chemical parameters between sampled sites, it is evident that AMF species are more abundant than compared to that of other fungal species in most of the study sites; thus, suggesting that other factors like land use may also be an essential component explaining the variation in fungal communities.
- Theme 1: Energy, Environment & Resource Sustainability [108 items ]