Relationship between soil fungal diversity and temperature in the maritime Antarctic

Newsham, Kevin K. ORCID:; Hopkins, David W.; Carvalhais, Lilia C.; Fretwell, Peter T. ORCID:; Rushton, Steven P.; O'Donnell, Anthony G.; Dennis, Paul G.. 2016 Relationship between soil fungal diversity and temperature in the maritime Antarctic. Nature Climate Change, 6. 182-186.

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An edited version of this paper was published in Nature Climate Change.
Newsham et al 2015 Nature Climate Change AAM.pdf - Accepted Version

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Soil fungi have pivotal ecological roles as decomposers, pathogens and symbionts1, 2. Alterations to their diversity arising from climate change could have substantial effects on ecosystems, particularly those undergoing rapid warming that contain few species3, 4. Here, we report a study using pyrosequencing to assess fungal diversity in 29 soils sampled from a 1,650 km climatic gradient through the maritime Antarctic, the most rapidly warming region in the Southern Hemisphere5, 6. Using a ‘space-for-time’ substitution approach, we show that soil fungal diversity is higher in warmer habitats, with increases of 4.7 (observed) and 11.3 (predicted) fungal taxa per degree Celsius rise in surface temperature along the transect. Among 22 predictor variables, air temperature was the strongest and most consistent predictor of diversity. We propose that the current rapid warming in the maritime Antarctic (0.34 °C per decade6) will facilitate the colonization of soil by a wider diversity of fungi than at present, with data from regression models suggesting 20–27% increases in fungal species richness in the southernmost soils by 2100. Such increases in diversity, which provide a sentinel for changes at lower latitudes, are likely to have substantial effects on nutrient cycling and, ultimately, productivity in the species-poor soils of maritime Antarctica.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Antarctic Funding Initiative Projects
BAS Programmes > BAS Programmes 2015 > Biodiversity, Evolution and Adaptation
BAS Programmes > BAS Corporate
ISSN: 1758-678X
Additional Keywords: biodiversity, biogeochemistry, microbial ecology
Date made live: 13 Oct 2015 10:53 +0 (UTC)

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