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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 39 No. 1, p. 65-70
    Received: July 1, 1974
    Accepted: Sept 3, 1974

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Lycopodium Fairy Rings: Effect on Soil Respiration and Enzymatic Activities1

  1. Brian Spalding,
  2. J. M. Duxbury and
  3. E. L. Stone2



Lycopodium species (L. tristachyum, L. clavatum, and L. complanatum) sometimes occur as fairy rings—dense annuli of plants, 1 to 1.5 m wide, that grow radially outward at a rate of 20 to 50 cm/year and die within. The impact of these fairy rings on soil organic matter was investigated through studies of soil respiration and selected enzymatic activities. Respiration was enhanced in the soil under lycopodium rings compared with soil either outside or inside the rings. The activities of phosphatase, protease, dehydrogenase, catalase, polyphenol oxidase, amylase, and dextrinase were found to be independent of soil location. However, significant increases in cellulase, invertase, polygalacturonase, and peroxidase activities were observed in the soil under lycopodium rings. A model based on the infection of the lycopodium plant by its endophytic fungus and subsequent peroxidative degradation of soil organic matter is presented to explain both the increases in enzymatic activities and nutrient availability under lycopodium fairy rings.

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