Co-occurring Fungal Functional Groups Respond Differently to Tree Neighborhoods and Soil Properties Across Three Tropical Rainforests in Panama

Tyler Schappe, Felipe E. Albornoz, Benjamin L. Turner, F. Andrew Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Abiotic and biotic drivers of co-occurring fungal functional guilds across regional-scale environmental gradients remain poorly understood. We characterized fungal communities using Illumina sequencing from soil cores collected across three Neotropical rainforests in Panama that vary in soil properties and plant community composition. We classified each fungal OTU into different functional guilds, namely plant pathogens, saprotrophs, arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM), or ectomycorrhizal (ECM). We measured soil properties and nutrients within each core and determined the tree community composition and richness around each sampling core. Canonical correspondence analyses showed that soil pH and moisture were shared potential drivers of fungal communities for all guilds. However, partial the Mantel tests showed different strength of responses of fungal guilds to composition of trees and soils. Plant pathogens and saprotrophs were more strongly correlated with soil properties than with tree composition; ECM fungi showed a stronger correlation with tree composition than with soil properties; and AM fungi were correlated with soil properties, but not with trees. In conclusion, we show that co-occurring fungal guilds respond differently to abiotic and biotic environmental factors, depending on their ecological function. This highlights the joint role that abiotic and biotic factors play in determining composition of fungal communities, including those associated with plant hosts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMicrobial Ecology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Oct 2019

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