A study of the factors influencing distribution of the endogonaceae in some Tanzanian

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study examines spores of the Endogonaceae extracted from soil at three sites within a 40km radius of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, so as to relate their distribution to soil and vegetation type. The sites namely Ubungo, Mwandege and Kunduchi represented clay, sandy-loam and sandy soil. Eighty two more or less distinct spore types were recognised on the basis of morphological characters, some were ascribed to the Geneva glomus, gigaspora, Acaulospora, Sclerocystis and Endogone but a number including 14 sporocarptic, 12 zygosporic and 2 chlamydosporic forms differed from published descriptions; one glomus and the slerocystis spore type may represent new species. Estimates of spore populations were based on detailed microscopical examination of small numbers of individual spores and counts of larger numbers placed arbitrarily into colour size and shape groups. The findings reveal a close agreement between the two methods of estimating spore distributions, and colour, size and shape was recommended as being accurate after one had gained some experience. Furthermore, the number of spores at all sites was highest at or near the soil surface and declined with depth. That was considered to be related to the distribution of plant roots. Differences in spore populations between sites were both quantitative and qualitative. Spore counts were found to be higher in sandy loam and sandy soil than in clay. High spore numbers were associated with high values of social organic matter, moisture factor, and fine sand, K.P, N and Ca. Correlations between spore density and PH, coarse sand, silt and clay and Na were significant only at individual sites and could not be separated from the effect of soil depth i.e. root density or oxygen tension. It was also found that the density and variety of flowering plants differed between the three sites. The highest spore numbers were found at those sites with the highest plant density; the greatest variety types were similarly found at sites with the largest number of plant species and that indicated that some species of the endogonaceae were preferentially associated with certain hosts. Dark pigmented spores were more abundant in sandy exposed soils indicating on adaptive protection against irradiation, and gigaspora species although not all were dark pigmented and more common in the locality. In conclusion it is suggested from the data presented that vegetation type is a more important factor in determining populations of Endogonaceae than soil composition and that variations in plant communities appeared to be linked with variation in the spore population, indicating that at least some species of endogonaceae may be preferentially associated with certain hosts.
Endogonaceae, Fungi, Tanzania, Soils
Chefeke, S. S. (1977) A study of the factors influencing distribution of the endogonaceae in some Tanzanian, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at