Vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae (often more conveniently called VA mycorrhizae, or VAM), affect everything from nutrient uptake to inter-species communication in plants. VA mycorrhizae are the most common of a group of symbiotic fungi that infect plant roots. Because VA mycorrhizae are so common and so important, they have been rather intensely studied. A particular area of interest to me is how VA mycorrhizal symbiosis is different in aquatic plants (hydrophytes) as opposed to terrestrial plants. Mycorrhizal aquatic plants have not been thoroughly studied, and this web site aims to summarize some of the knowledge that does exist. After a brief introduction to the physiology behind VA mycorrhizae in terrestrial systems and a summary of the research leading up to the discovery of how widespread VA mycorrhizae are in aquatic systems, this site moves to a look at the problems and benefits associated with being mycorrhizal and aquatic. Techniques for seeing mycorrhizae largely hidden by the root tissue surrounding them are compared, and finally recent thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of aquatic plant susceptibility to mycorrhizal infection are summarized and related to my research and hypotheses about the ecological effects of VA mycorrhizae on aquatic plants.

This web site was created in partial fulfillment of the graduation requirements for a degree from the Kenyon College biology department, in fall of 1999. Text and images may be freely used and copied as long as credit is given to the author: Laura Marx if not specified, original authors and photographers when listed. Questions, comments, and observations should be sent to Laura Marx at

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On to VAM on Land, or back to contents.