Project description:The dramatic climate fluctuations of the late Quaternary have influenced the diversity and composition of macroorganism communities, but how they structure belowground microbial communities is less well known. Fungi constitute an important component of soil microorganism communities. They play an important role in biodiversity maintenance, community assembly, and ecosystem functioning, and differ from many macroorganisms in many traits. Here, we examined soil fungal communities in Chinese temperate, subtropical, and tropic forests using Illumina MiSeq sequencing of the fungal ITS1 region. The relative effect of late Quaternary climate change and contemporary environment (plant, soil, current climate, and geographic distance) on the soil fungal community was analyzed. The richness of the total fungal community, along with saprotrophic, ectomycorrhizal (EM), and pathogenic fungal communities, was influenced primarily by the contemporary environment (plant and/or soil) but not by late Quaternary climate change. Late Quaternary climate change acted in concert with the contemporary environment to shape total, saprotrophic, EM, and pathogenic fungal community compositions and with a stronger effect in temperate forest than in tropic-subtropical forest ecosystems. Some contemporary environmental factors influencing total, saprotrophic, EM, and pathogenic fungal communities in temperate and tropic-subtropical forests were different. We demonstrate that late Quaternary climate change can help to explain current soil fungal community composition and argue that climatic legacies can help to predict soil fungal responses to climate change.
Project description:Forest ecosystems are an integral component of the global carbon cycle as they take up and release large amounts of C over short time periods (C flux) or accumulate it over longer time periods (C stock). However, there remains uncertainty about whether and in which direction C fluxes and in particular C stocks may differ between forests of high versus low species richness. Based on a comprehensive dataset derived from field-based measurements, we tested the effect of species richness (3-20 tree species) and stand age (22-116 years) on six compartments of above- and below-ground C stocks and four components of C fluxes in subtropical forests in southeast China. Across forest stands, total C stock was 149 ± 12 Mg ha-1 with richness explaining 28.5% and age explaining 29.4% of variation in this measure. Species-rich stands had higher C stocks and fluxes than stands with low richness; and, in addition, old stands had higher C stocks than young ones. Overall, for each additional tree species, the total C stock increased by 6.4%. Our results provide comprehensive evidence for diversity-mediated above- and below-ground C sequestration in species-rich subtropical forests in southeast China. Therefore, afforestation policies in this region and elsewhere should consider a change from the current focus on monocultures to multi-species plantations to increase C fixation and thus slow increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations and global warming.
Project description:Mycorrhizal species richness and host ranges were investigated in mixed deciduous stands composed of Fagus sylvatica, Tilia spp., Carpinus betulus, Acer spp., and Fraxinus excelsior. Acer and Fraxinus were colonized by arbuscular mycorrhizas and contributed 5% to total stand mycorrhizal fungal species richness. Tilia hosted similar and Carpinus half the number of ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungal taxa compared with Fagus (75 putative taxa). The relative abundance of the host tree the EM fungal richness decreased in the order Fagus?>?Tilia?>>?Carpinus. After correction for similar sampling intensities, EM fungal species richness of Carpinus was still about 30-40% lower than that of Fagus and Tilia. About 10% of the mycorrhizal species were shared among the EM forming trees; 29% were associated with two host tree species and 61% with only one of the hosts. The latter group consisted mainly of rare EM fungal species colonizing about 20% of the root tips and included known specialists but also putative non-host associations such as conifer or shrub mycorrhizas. Our data indicate that EM fungal species richness was associated with tree identity and suggest that Fagus secures EM fungal diversity in an ecosystem since it shared more common EM fungi with Tilia and Carpinus than the latter two among each other.
Project description:Species richness varies dramatically among clades across the Tree of Life, by over a million-fold in some cases (e.g. placozoans versus arthropods). Two major explanations for differences in richness among clades are the clade-age hypothesis (i.e. species-rich clades are older) and the diversification-rate hypothesis (i.e. species-rich clades diversify more rapidly, where diversification rate is the net balance of speciation and extinction over time). Here, we examine patterns of variation in diversification rates across the Tree of Life. We address how rates vary across higher taxa, whether rates within higher taxa are related to the subclades within them, and how diversification rates of clades are related to their species richness. We find substantial variation in diversification rates, with rates in plants nearly twice as high as in animals, and rates in some eukaryotes approximately 10-fold faster than prokaryotes. Rates for each kingdom-level clade are then significantly related to the subclades within them. Although caution is needed when interpreting relationships between diversification rates and richness, a positive relationship between the two is not inevitable. We find that variation in diversification rates seems to explain most variation in richness among clades across the Tree of Life, in contrast to the conclusions of previous studies.
Project description:Wood-inhabiting fungi have essential roles in the regulation of carbon stocks and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems. However, knowledge pertaining to wood-inhabiting fungi is only fragmentary and controversial. Here we established a large-scale deadwood experiment with 11 tree species to investigate diversity and tree species preferences of wood-inhabiting fungi using next-generation sequencing. Our results contradict existing knowledge based on sporocarp surveys and challenge current views on their distribution and diversity in temperate forests. Analyzing ?-, ?- and ?-diversity, we show that diverse fungi colonize deadwood at different spatial scales. Specifically, coniferous species have higher ?- and ?-diversity than the majority of analyzed broadleaf species, but two broadleaf species showed the highest ?-diversity. Surprisingly, we found nonrandom co-occurrence (P<0.001) and strong tree species preferences of wood-inhabiting fungi, especially in broadleaf trees (P<0.01). Our results indicate that the saprotrophic fungal community is more specific to tree species than previously thought.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 31 October 2017; doi:10.1038/ismej.2017.177.
Project description:Soil fungi are a highly diverse group of microorganisms that provide many ecosystem services. The mechanisms of soil fungal community assembly must therefore be understood to reliably predict how global changes such as climate warming and biodiversity loss will affect ecosystem functioning. To this end, we assessed fungal communities in experimental subtropical forests by pyrosequencing of the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region, and constructed tree-fungal bipartite networks based on the co-occurrence of fungal operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and tree species. The characteristics of the networks and the observed degree of fungal specialization were then analyzed in relation to the level of tree species diversity. Unexpectedly, plots containing two tree species had higher <i>network connectance</i> and <i>fungal generality</i> values than those with higher tree diversity. Most of the frequent fungal OTUs were saprotrophs. The degree of fungal specialization was highest in tree monocultures. Ectomycorrhizal fungi had higher specialization coefficients than saprotrophic, arbuscular mycorrhizal, and plant pathogenic fungi. High tree species diversity plots with 4 to 16 different tree species sustained the greatest number of fungal species, which is assumed to be beneficial for ecosystem services because it leads to more effective resource exploitation and greater resilience due to functional redundancy.
Project description:Changing climate is expected to alter precipitation patterns in the Arctic, with consequences for subsurface temperature and moisture conditions, community structure, and nutrient mobilization through microbial belowground processes. Here, we address the effect of increased snow depth on the variation in species richness and community structure of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) and saprotrophic fungi. Soil samples were collected weekly from mid-July to mid-September in both control and deep snow plots. Richness of ECM fungi was lower, while saprotrophic fungi was higher in increased snow depth plots relative to controls. [Correction added on 23 September 2016 after first online publication: In the preceding sentence, the richness of ECM and saprotrophic fungi were wrongly interchanged and have been fixed in this current version.] ECM fungal richness was related to soil NO3 -N, NH4 -N, and K; and saprotrophic fungi to NO3 -N and pH. Small but significant changes in the composition of saprotrophic fungi could be attributed to snow treatment and sampling time, but not so for the ECM fungi. Delayed snow melt did not influence the temporal variation in fungal communities between the treatments. Results suggest that some fungal species are favored, while others are disfavored resulting in their local extinction due to long-term changes in snow amount. Shifts in species composition of fungal functional groups are likely to affect nutrient cycling, ecosystem respiration, and stored permafrost carbon.
Project description:Despite the importance of herbivory for the structure and functioning of species-rich forests, little is known about how herbivory is affected by tree species richness, and more specifically by random vs. non-random species loss. We assessed herbivore damage and its effects on tree growth in the early stage of a large-scale forest biodiversity experiment in subtropical China that features random and non-random extinction scenarios of tree mixtures numbering between one and 24 species. In contrast to random species loss, the non-random extinction scenarios were based on the tree species' local rarity and specific leaf area - traits that may strongly influence the way herbivory is affected by plant species richness. Herbivory increased with tree species richness across all scenarios and was unaffected by the different species compositions in the random and non-random extinction scenarios. Whereas tree growth rates were positively related to herbivory on plots with smaller trees, growth rates significantly declined with increasing herbivory on plots with larger trees. Our results suggest that the effects of herbivory on growth rates increase from monocultures to the most species-rich plant communities and that negative effects with increasing tree species richness become more pronounced with time as trees grow larger. <i>Synthesis</i>. Our results indicate that key trophic interactions can be quick to become established in forest plantations (i.e. already 2.5 years after tree planting). Stronger herbivory effects on tree growth with increasing tree species richness suggest a potentially important role of herbivory in regulating ecosystem functions and the structural development of species-rich forests from the very start of secondary forest succession. The lack of significant differences between the extinction scenarios, however, contrasts with findings from natural forests of higher successional age, where rarity had negative effects on herbivory. This indicates that the effects of non-random species loss could change with forest succession.