Strong altitudinal partitioning in the distributions of ectomycorrhizal fungi along a short (300 m) elevation gradient

Jarvis, Susan G.; Woodward, Steve; Taylor, Andy F.S.. 2015 Strong altitudinal partitioning in the distributions of ectomycorrhizal fungi along a short (300 m) elevation gradient. New Phytologist, 206 (3). 1145-1155.

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• Changes in species richness and distributions of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal communities along altitudinal gradients have been attributed to changes in both host distributions and abiotic variables. However, few studies have considered altitudinal relationships of ECM fungi associated with a single host to identify the role of abiotic drivers. To address this, ECM fungal communities associated with one host were assessed along five altitudinal transects in Scotland. • Roots of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) were collected from sites between 300 and 550–600 m altitude, and ECM fungal communities were identified by 454 pyrosequencing of the fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. Soil moisture, temperature, pH, carbon : nitrogen (C : N) ratio and organic matter content were measured as potential predictors of fungal species richness and community composition. • Altitude did not affect species richness of ECM fungal communities, but strongly influenced fungal community composition. Shifts in community composition along the altitudinal gradient were most clearly related to changes in soil moisture and temperature. • Our results show that a 300 m altitudinal gradient produced distinct shifts in ECM fungal communities associated with a single host, and that this pattern was strongly related to climatic variables. This finding suggests significant climatic niche partitioning among ECM fungal species.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Parr
ISSN: 0028-646X
Additional Keywords: climate, ectomycorrhizal (ECM), elevation, forest, ordination, Pinus sylvestris, soil temperature
NORA Subject Terms: Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 12 Feb 2015 10:41 +0 (UTC)

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