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Open AccessArticle

Linking Soil Fungal Generality to Tree Richness in Young Subtropical Chinese Forests

Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research GmbH - UFZ, Theodor-Lieser-Straße 4, 06120 Halle, Germany
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Jena-Halle-Leipzig, Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
Institute of Biology/Geobotany and Botanical Garden, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Am Kirchtor 1, 06108 Halle, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 547; (registering DOI)
Received: 20 October 2019 / Revised: 7 November 2019 / Accepted: 7 November 2019 / Published: 10 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Genomics of Forest Fungi and Their Interactions)
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 network connectance and fungal generality 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: bipartite network; diversity; fungal community assembly; soil; specialization; subtropics bipartite network; diversity; fungal community assembly; soil; specialization; subtropics
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Weißbecker, C.; Heintz-Buschart, A.; Bruelheide, H.; Buscot, F.; Wubet, T. Linking Soil Fungal Generality to Tree Richness in Young Subtropical Chinese Forests. Microorganisms 2019, 7, 547.

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