Strong coupling of plant and fungal community structure across western Amazonian rainforests.
ABSTRACT: The Amazon basin harbors a diverse ecological community that has a critical role in the maintenance of the biosphere. Although plant and animal communities have received much attention, basic information is lacking for fungal or prokaryotic communities. This is despite the fact that recent ecological studies have suggested a prominent role for interactions with soil fungi in structuring the diversity and abundance of tropical rainforest trees. In this study, we characterize soil fungal communities across three major tropical forest types in the western Amazon basin (terra firme, seasonally flooded and white sand) using 454 pyrosequencing. Using these data, we examine the relationship between fungal diversity and tree species richness, and between fungal community composition and tree species composition, soil environment and spatial proximity. We find that the fungal community in these ecosystems is diverse, with high degrees of spatial variability related to forest type. We also find strong correlations between ?- and ?-diversity of soil fungi and trees. Both fungal and plant community ?-diversity were also correlated with differences in environmental conditions. The correlation between plant and fungal richness was stronger in fungal lineages known for biotrophic strategies (for example, pathogens, mycorrhizas) compared with a lineage known primarily for saprotrophy (yeasts), suggesting that this coupling is, at least in part, due to direct plant-fungal interactions. These data provide a much-needed look at an understudied dimension of the biota in an important ecosystem and supports the hypothesis that fungal communities are involved in the regulation of tropical tree diversity.
Project description:Although fungi play essential roles in nutrient cycles and plant growth in forest ecosystems, limited information is currently available on the community compositions of soil fungi in tropical forests. Few studies have examined fungal community structures in seasonal tropical forests, in which forest fires potentially have a large impact on above- and belowground community processes. Based on high-throughput sequencing technologies, we herein examined the diversity and community structures of soil fungi in dry seasonal tropical forests in Sakaerat, northeast Thailand. We found that fungal community compositions diverged among dry evergreen, dry deciduous, and fire-protected dry deciduous forests within the region. Although tree species diversity did not positively correlate with soil fungal diversity, the coverage of an understory bamboo species (Vietnamosasa pusilla) showed a strong relationship with fungal community structures. Our community ecological analysis also yielded a list of fungi showing habitat preferences for either of the neighboring evergreen and deciduous forests in Sakaerat. The present results provide a basis for managing soil fungal communities and aboveground plant communities in seasonal tropical forests in Southeast Asia.
Project description:Although the level of diversity of root-associated fungi can be quite high, the effect of plant distribution and soil environment on root-associated fungal communities at fine spatial scales has received little attention. Here, we examine how soil environment and plant distribution affect the occurrence, diversity, and community structure of root-associated fungi at local patch scales within a mature forest. We used terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and sequence analysis to detect 63 fungal species representing 28 different genera colonizing tree root tips. At least 32 species matched previously identified mycorrhizal fungi, with the remaining fungi including both saprotrophic and parasitic species. Root fungal communities were significantly different between June and September, suggesting a rapid temporal change in root fungal communities. Plant distribution affected root fungal communities, with some root fungi positively correlated with tree diameter and herbaceous-plant coverage. Some aspects of the soil environment were correlated with root fungal community structure, with the abundance of some root fungi positively correlated with soil pH and moisture content in June and with soil phosphorous (P) in September. Fungal distribution and community structure may be governed by plant-soil interactions at fine spatial scales within a mature forest. Soil P may play a role in structuring root fungal communities at certain times of the year.
Project description:Financially profitable large-scale cultivation of oil palm monocultures in previously diverse tropical rain forest areas constitutes a major ecological crisis today. Not only is a large proportion of the aboveground diversity lost, but the belowground soil microbiome, which is important for the sustainability of soil function, is massively altered. Intermixing oil palms with native tree species promotes vegetation biodiversity and stand structural complexity in plantations, but the impact on soil fungi remains unknown. Here, we analyzed the diversity and community composition of soil fungi three years after tree diversity enrichment in an oil palm plantation in Sumatra (Indonesia). We tested the effects of tree diversity, stand structural complexity indices, and soil abiotic conditions on the diversity and community composition of soil fungi. We hypothesized that the enrichment experiment alters the taxonomic and functional community composition, promoting soil fungal diversity. Fungal community composition was affected by soil abiotic conditions (pH, N, and P), but not by tree diversity and stand structural complexity indices. These results suggest that intensive land use and abiotic filters are a legacy to fungal communities, overshadowing the structuring effects of the vegetation, at least in the initial years after enrichment plantings.
Project description:Trees associating with different mycorrhizas often differ in their effects on litter decomposition, nutrient cycling, soil organic matter (SOM) dynamics, and plant-soil interactions. For example, due to differences between arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (ECM) tree leaf and root traits, ECM-associated soil has lower rates of C and N cycling and lower N availability than AM-associated soil. These observations suggest that many groups of nonmycorrhizal fungi should be affected by the mycorrhizal associations of dominant trees through controls on nutrient availability. To test this overarching hypothesis, we explored the influence of predominant forest mycorrhizal type and mineral N availability on soil fungal communities using next-generation amplicon sequencing. Soils from four temperate hardwood forests in southern Indiana, United States, were studied; three forests formed a natural gradient of mycorrhizal dominance (100% AM tree basal area to 100% ECM basal area), while the fourth forest contained a factorial experiment testing long-term N addition in both dominant mycorrhizal types. We found that overall fungal diversity, as well as the diversity and relative abundance of plant pathogenic and saprotrophic fungi, increased with greater AM tree dominance. Additionally, tree community mycorrhizal associations explained more variation in fungal community composition than abiotic variables, including soil depth, SOM content, nitrification rate, and mineral N availability. Our findings suggest that tree mycorrhizal associations may be good predictors of the diversity, composition, and functional potential of soil fungal communities in temperate hardwood forests. These observations help explain differing biogeochemistry and community dynamics found in forest stands dominated by differing mycorrhizal types. <b>IMPORTANCE</b> Our work explores how differing mycorrhizal associations of temperate hardwood trees (i.e., arbuscular [AM] versus ectomycorrhizal [ECM] associations) affect soil fungal communities by altering the diversity and relative abundance of saprotrophic and plant-pathogenic fungi along natural gradients of mycorrhizal dominance. Because temperate hardwood forests are predicted to become more AM dominant with climate change, studies examining soil communities along mycorrhizal gradients are necessary to understand how these global changes may alter future soil fungal communities and their functional potential. Ours, along with other recent studies, identify possible global trends in the frequency of specific fungal functional groups responsible for nutrient cycling and plant-soil interactions as they relate to mycorrhizal associations.
Project description:Deconvoluting the relative contributions made by specific biotic and abiotic drivers to soil fungal community compositions facilitates predictions about the functional responses of ecosystems to environmental changes, such as losses of plant diversity, but it is hindered by the complex interactions involved. Experimental assembly of tree species allows separation of the respective effects of plant community composition (biotic components) and soil properties (abiotic components), enabling much greater statistical power than can be achieved in observational studies. We therefore analyzed these contributions by assessing, via pyrotag sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) rDNA region, fungal communities in young subtropical forest plots included in a large experiment on the effects of tree species richness. Spatial variables and soil properties were the main drivers of soil fungal alpha and beta-diversity, implying strong early-stage environmental filtering and dispersal limitation. Tree related variables, such as tree community composition, significantly affected arbuscular mycorrhizal and pathogen fungal community structure, while differences in tree host species and host abundance affected ectomycorrhizal fungal community composition. At this early stage of the experiment, only a limited amount of carbon inputs (rhizodeposits and leaf litter) was being provided to the ecosystem due to the size of the tree saplings, and persisting legacy effects were observed. We thus expect to find increasing tree related effects on fungal community composition as forest development proceeds.
Project description:Increasing biodiversity loss profoundly affects community structure and ecosystem functioning. However, the differences in community assembly and potential drivers of the co-occurrence network structure of soil fungi and bacteria in association with tree species richness gradients are poorly documented. Here, we examined soil fungal and bacterial communities in a Chinese subtropical tree species richness experiment (from 1 to 16 species) using amplicon sequencing targeting the internal transcribed spacer 2 and V4 hypervariable region of the rRNA genes, respectively. Tree species richness had no significant effect on the diversity of either fungi or bacteria. In addition to soil and spatial distance, tree species richness and composition had a significant effect on fungal community composition but not on bacterial community composition. In fungal rather than bacterial co-occurrence networks, the average degree, degree centralization, and clustering coefficient significantly decreased, but the modularity significantly increased with increasing tree species richness. Fungal co-occurrence network structure was influenced by tree species richness and community composition as well as the soil carbon: nitrogen ratio, but the bacterial co-occurrence network structure was affected by soil pH and spatial distance. This study demonstrates that the community assembly and potential drivers of the co-occurrence network structure of soil fungi and bacteria differ in the subtropical forest. <b>IMPORTANCE</b> Increasing biodiversity loss profoundly affects community structure and ecosystem functioning. Therefore, revealing the mechanisms associated with community assembly and co-occurrence network structure of microbes along plant species diversity gradients is very important for understanding biodiversity maintenance and community stability in response to plant diversity loss. Here, we compared the differences in community assembly and potential drivers of the co-occurrence network structure of soil fungi and bacteria in a subtropical tree diversity experiment. In addition to soil and spatial distance, plants are more strongly predictive of the community and co-occurrence network structure of fungi than those of bacteria. The study highlighted that plants play more important roles in shaping community assembly and interactions of fungi than of bacteria in the subtropical tree diversity experiment.
Project description:Soil fungi are key players in nutrient cycles as decomposers, mutualists and pathogens, but the impact of tropical rain forest transformation into rubber or oil palm plantations on fungal community structures and their ecological functions are unknown. We hypothesized that increasing land use intensity and habitat loss due to the replacement of the hyperdiverse forest flora by nonendemic cash crops drives a drastic loss of diversity of soil fungal taxa and impairs the ecological soil functions. Unexpectedly, rain forest conversion was not associated with strong diversity loss but with massive shifts in soil fungal community composition. Fungal communities clustered according to land use system and loss of plant species. Network analysis revealed characteristic fungal genera significantly associated with different land use systems. Shifts in soil fungal community structure were particularly distinct among different trophic groups, with substantial decreases in symbiotrophic fungi and increases in saprotrophic and pathotrophic fungi in oil palm and rubber plantations in comparison with rain forests. In conclusion, conversion of rain forests and current land use systems restructure soil fungal communities towards enhanced pathogen pressure and, thus, threaten ecosystem health functions.
Project description:Trees in forest ecosystems constantly interact with the soil fungal community, and this interaction plays a key role in nutrient cycling. The diversity of soil fungal communities is affected by both environmental factors and host tree species. We investigated the influence of both of these factors by examining the total fungal communities in the rhizospheric soil of climax tree species that have similar ecological roles (Carpinus cordata, an ectomycorrhizal [ECM] tree, and Fraxinus rhynchophylla, an arbuscular mycorrhizal [AM] tree) in temperate forests with continental climates of Mt. Jeombong, South Korea. Fungal communities were assessed by Illumina-MiSeq sequencing the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of environmental DNA, and comparing their environmental factors (season and soil properties). We found that soil fungi of the two forest types differed in terms of community structure and ecological guild composition. The total fungal community composition changed significantly with seasons and soil properties in the F. rhynchophylla forest, but not in the C. cordata forest. However, potassium and carbon were significantly correlated with fungal diversity in both forests, and a positive correlation was found only between symbiotrophs of C. cordata and the carbon to nitrogen (C/N) ratio. Thus, the effects of environmental factors on soil fungal communities depended on the host trees, but some factors were common in both forests. Our results indicate that individual tree species should be considered when anticipating how the fungal communities will respond to environmental change.
Project description:Establishing diverse mycorrhizal fungal communities is considered important for forest recovery, yet mycorrhizae may have complex effects on tree growth depending on the composition of fungal species present. In an effort to understand the role of mycorrhizal fungi community in forest restoration in southern Costa Rica, we sampled the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) community across eight sites that were planted with the same species (<i>Inga edulis, Erythrina poeppigiana, Terminalia amazonia,</i> and <i>Vochysia guatemalensis</i>) but varied twofold to fourfold in overall tree growth rates. The AMF community was measured in multiple ways: as percent colonization of host tree roots, by DNA isolation of the fungal species associated with the roots, and through spore density, volume, and identity in both the wet and dry seasons. Consistent with prior tropical restoration research, the majority of fungal species belonged to the genus <i>Glomus</i> and genus <i>Acaulospora</i>, accounting for more than half of the species and relative abundance found on trees roots and over 95% of spore density across all sites. Greater AMF diversity correlated with lower soil organic matter, carbon, and nitrogen concentrations and longer durations of prior pasture use across sites. Contrary to previous literature findings, AMF species diversity and spore densities were inversely related to tree growth, which may have arisen from trees facultatively increasing their associations with AMF in lower soil fertility sites. Changes to AMF community composition also may have led to variation in disturbance susceptibility, host tree nutrient acquisition, and tree growth. These results highlight the potential importance of fungal-tree-soil interactions in forest recovery and suggest that fungal community dynamics could have important implications for tree growth in disturbed soils.
Project description:Tropical forests are being rapidly altered by logging, and cleared for agriculture. Understanding the effects of these land use changes on soil fungi, which play vital roles in the soil ecosystem functioning and services, is a major conservation frontier. Using 454-pyrosequencing of the ITS1 region of extracted soil DNA, we compared communities of soil fungi between unlogged, once-logged, and twice-logged rainforest, and areas cleared for oil palm, in Sabah, Malaysia. Overall fungal community composition differed significantly between forest and oil palm plantation. The OTU richness and Chao 1 were higher in forest, compared to oil palm plantation. As a proportion of total reads, Basidiomycota were more abundant in forest soil, compared to oil palm plantation soil. The turnover of fungal OTUs across space, true ?-diversity, was also higher in forest than oil palm plantation. Ectomycorrhizal (EcM) fungal abundance was significantly different between land uses, with highest relative abundance (out of total fungal reads) observed in unlogged forest soil, lower abundance in logged forest, and lowest in oil palm. In their entirety, these results indicate a pervasive effect of conversion to oil palm on fungal community structure. Such wholesale changes in fungal communities might impact the long-term sustainability of oil palm agriculture. Logging also has more subtle long term effects, on relative abundance of EcM fungi, which might affect tree recruitment and nutrient cycling. However, in general the logged forest retains most of the diversity and community composition of unlogged forest.