Extreme rainfall affects assembly of the root-associated fungal community

Barnes, Christopher J.; van der Gast, Christopher J.; McNamara, Niall P.; Rowe, Rebecca; Bending, Gary D.. 2018 Extreme rainfall affects assembly of the root-associated fungal community. New Phytologist.

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• Global warming is resulting in increased frequency of weather extremes. Root-associated fungi play important roles in terrestrial biogeochemical cycling processes, but the way in which they are affected by extreme weather is unclear. Here, we performed long-term field monitoring of the root-associated fungus community of a short rotation coppice willow plantation, and compared community dynamics before and after a once in 100 yr rainfall event that occurred in the UK in 2012. • Monitoring of the root-associated fungi was performed over a 3-yr period by metabarcoding the fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. Repeated soil testing and continuous climatic monitoring supplemented community data, and the relative effects of environmental and temporal variation were determined on the root-associated fungal community. • Soil saturation and surface water were recorded throughout the early growing season of 2012, following extreme rainfall. This was associated with a crash in the richness and relative abundance of ectomycorrhizal fungi, with each declining by over 50%. Richness and relative abundance of saprophytes and pathogens increased. • We conclude that extreme rainfall events may be important yet overlooked determinants of root-associated fungal community assembly. Given the integral role of ectomycorrhizal fungi in biogeochemical cycles, these events may have considerable impacts upon the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0028-646X
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: extreme weather, mycorrhizal fungi, root-associated fungi, soil fungi, temporal variation in microbial communities
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 21 Feb 2018 12:37 +0 (UTC)

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