Rhizosphere microbes, such as root-associated fungi, can improve plant access to soil resources, affecting plant health, productivity, and stress tolerance. While mycorrhizal associations are ubiquitous, plant–microbe interactions can be species specific. Here we show that the specificity of the effects of microbial symbionts on plant function can go beyond species level: colonization of roots by ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF) of the genus Geopora has opposite effects on water uptake, and stomatal control of desiccation in drought tolerant and intolerant genotypes of pinyon pine (Pinus edulis Engelm.). These results demonstrate, for the first time, that microorganisms can have significant and opposite effects on important plant functional traits like stomatal control of desiccation that are associated with differential mortality and growth in nature. They also highlight that appropriate pairing of plant genotypes and microbial associates will be important for mitigating climate change impacts on vegetation.
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