Characterization of Fungal Community Structure on a Weathered Pegmatitic Granite

Deirdre Gleeson, N. Clipson, K. Melville, G.M. Gadd, P. Mcdermott

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    This study exploited the contrasting major element chemistry of adjacent, physically separable crystals of framework and sheet silicates in a pegmatitic granite to investigate the mineralogical influences of fungal community structure on mineral surfaces. Large intact crystals of variably weathered muscovite, plagioclase, K-feldspar, and quartz were individually extracted, together with whole-rock granite. Environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) revealed a diversity of fungal structures, with microcolonial fungi and fungal hyphae clearly visible on surfaces of all mineral types. Fungal automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (FARISA) was used to generate a ribotype profile for each mineral sample and a randomization test revealed that ribotype profiles, or community fingerprints, differed between different mineral types. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) revealed that mineral chemistry affected individual fungal ribotypes, and strong relationships were found between certain ribotypes and particular chemical elements. This finding was further supported by analysis of variance (ANOVA) of the 16 most abundant ribotypes within the community. Significantly, individual ribotypes were largely restricted to single mineral types and ribotypes clustered strongly on the basis of mineral type. CCA also revealed that Al, Si, and Ca had a significant impact on fungal community structure within this system. These results show that fungal community structure was driven by the chemical composition of mineral substrates, indicating selective pressure by individual chemical elements on fungal populations in situ.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)360-368
    JournalMicrobial Ecology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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