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 image of Dr. Morton working in the INVAM Lab


Owner and caretaker of the world’s largest collection of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, WVU’s INVAM  not only preserves these valuable fungi, but makes them available to researchers and to the public worldwide.

Welcome to INVAM

The content of this website focuses on a group of soil-borne fungi found in almost any habitat worldwide. They partner with many plant species by colonizing roots and producing hyphae in the rhizosphere to facilitate uptake of nutrients (mostly immobile phosphorus) and to provide other benefits, either directly and indirectly. This mutually beneficial symbiosis is called an “arbuscular mycorrhizal” association with “ arbuscular ” referring to specialized fungal structures interfacing with the contents of root cortical cells and “ mycorrhizal ” referring to the fungus (myco) – root (rhizo) interaction. This particular mycorrhizal association began more than 400 million years ago with the first land plants and both partners have coevolved to the present day. As obligate symbionts, the fungi have evolved exclusively in their associations with host plants and so it is no surprise that they comprise a unique and separate evolutionary lineage now classified as the phylum Glomeromycota. The symbiosis has a sustainable net benefit to both partners, or they would have gotten a “divorce” long before now. This benefit can be physiological, nutritional, ecological or any combination of these processes. Therefore, exploiting and managing mycorrhizas has important and sustainable consequences for both agricultural and natural ecosystems.

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