Legacy Effects Overshadow Tree Diversity Effects on Soil Fungal Communities in Oil Palm-Enrichment Plantations.
ABSTRACT: 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: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.
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: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:Forest management practices often severely affect forest ecosystem functioning. Tree removal by clearcutting is one such practice, producing severe impacts due to the total reduction of primary productivity. Here, we assessed changes to fungal community structure and decomposition activity in the soil, roots and rhizosphere of a Picea abies stand for a 2-year period following clearcutting compared to data from before tree harvest. We found that the termination of photosynthate flow through tree roots into soil is associated with profound changes in soil, both in decomposition processes and fungal community composition. The rhizosphere, representing an active compartment of high enzyme activity and high fungal biomass in the living stand, ceases to exist and starts to resemble bulk soil. Decomposing roots appear to separate from bulk soil and develop into hotspots of decomposition and important fungal biomass pools. We found no support for the involvement of ectomycorrhizal fungi in the decomposition of roots, but we found some evidence that root endophytic fungi may have an important role in the early stages of this process. In soil, activity of extracellular enzymes also decreased in the long term following the end of rhizodeposition by tree roots.
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:Forestry reshapes ecosystems with respect to tree age structure, soil properties and vegetation composition. These changes are likely to be paralleled by shifts in microbial community composition with potential feedbacks on ecosystem functioning. Here, we assessed fungal communities across a chronosequence of managed Pinus sylvestris stands and investigated correlations between taxonomic composition and extracellular enzyme activities. Not surprisingly, clear-cutting had a negative effect on ectomycorrhizal fungal abundance and diversity. In contrast, clear-cutting favoured proliferation of saprotrophic fungi correlated with enzymes involved in holocellulose decomposition. During stand development, the re-establishing ectomycorrhizal fungal community shifted in composition from dominance by Atheliaceae in younger stands to Cortinarius and Russula species in older stands. Late successional ectomycorrhizal taxa correlated with enzymes involved in mobilisation of nutrients from organic matter, indicating intensified nutrient limitation. Our results suggest that maintenance of functional diversity in the ectomycorrhizal fungal community may sustain long-term forest production by retaining a capacity for symbiosis-driven recycling of organic nutrient pools.
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:Global climate and land use change are altering plant and soil microbial communities worldwide, particularly in arctic and alpine biomes where warming is accelerated. The widespread expansion of woody shrubs into historically herbaceous alpine plant zones is likely to interact with climate to affect soil microbial community structure and function; however, our understanding of alpine soil ecology remains limited. This study aimed to (i) determine whether the diversity and community composition of soil fungi vary across elevation gradients and to (ii) assess the impact of woody shrub expansion on these patterns. In the White Mountains of California, sagebrush (Artemisia rothrockii) shrubs have been expanding upwards into alpine areas since 1960. In this study, we combined observational field data with a manipulative shrub removal experiment along an elevation transect of alpine shrub expansion. We utilized next-generation sequencing of the ITS1 region for fungi and joint distribution modelling to tease apart effects of the environment and intracommunity interactions on soil fungi. We found that soil fungal diversity declines and community composition changes with increasing elevation. Both abiotic factors (primarily soil moisture and soil organic C) and woody sagebrush range expansion had significant effects on these patterns. However, fungal diversity and relative abundance had high spatial variation, overwhelming the predictive power of vegetation type, elevation and abiotic soil conditions at the landscape scale. Finally, we observed positive and negative associations among fungal taxa which may be important in structuring community responses to global change.
Project description: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:Root-associated fungi (RAF) are an important factor affecting the host's growth, and their contribution to <i>Pinus sylvestris</i> var. <i>mongolica</i> plantation decline is substantial. Therefore, we selected three age groups of <i>P. sylvestris</i> plantations (26, 33, and 43 years), in the Mu Us Desert, to characterize the community structure and functional groups of RAF, identified by Illumina high-throughput sequencing and FUNGuild platform, respectively. The effects of soil properties and enzyme activities on fungal diversity and functional groups were also examined. The results indicated that (a) 805 operational taxonomic units of RAF associated with <i>P. sylvestris</i> belonged to six phyla and 163 genera. Diversity and richness were not significantly different in the three age groups, but community composition showed significant differences. Ascomycota and Basidiomycota dominated the fungal community, while <i>Rhizopogon</i> dominated in each plot. (b) The proportion of pathotrophs decreased with increasing age, while that of symbiotrophs increased sharply, which were mainly represented by ectomycorrhizal fungi. (c) Stand age and soil enzyme activity had a greater influence on fungal community composition than did soil properties, whereas environmental variables were not significantly correlated with fungal diversity and richness. Dynamics of fungal community composition and functional groups with the aging plantations reflected the growth state of <i>P. sylvestris</i> and were related to plantation degradation.