Impact of urbanization on functional diversity in macromycete communities along an urban ecosystem in Southwest Mexico.

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From: PeerJ(Vol. 9)
Publisher: PeerJ. Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 10,186 words
Lexile Measure: 1460L

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Abstract :

Macromycetes are a group of fungi characterized by the production of fruit bodies and are highly relevant in most terrestrial ecosystems as pathogens, mutualists, and organic matter decomposers. Habitat transformation can drastically alter macromycete communities and diminish the contribution of these organisms to ecosystem functioning; however, knowledge on the effect of urbanization on macrofungal communities is scarce. Diversity metrics based on functional traits of macromycete species have shown to be valuable tools to predict how species contribute to ecosystem functionality since traits determine the performance of species in ecosystems. The aim of this study was to assess patterns of species richness, functional diversity, and composition of macrofungi in an urban ecosystem in Southwest Mexico, and to identify microclimatic, environmental, and urban factors related to these patterns in order to infer the effect of urbanization on macromycete communities. We selected four oak forests along an urbanization gradient and established a permanent sampling area of 0.1 ha at each site. Macromycete sampling was carried out every week from June to October 2017. The indices used to measure functional diversity were functional richness (FRic), functional divergence (FDig), and functional evenness (FEve). The metric used to assess variation of macrofungal ecological function along the study area was the functional value. We recorded a total of 134 macromycete species and 223 individuals. Our results indicated a decline of species richness with increased urbanization level related mainly to microclimatic variables, and a high turnover of species composition among study sites, which appears to be related to microclimatic and urbanization variables. FRic decreased with urbanization level, indicating that some of the available resources in the niche space within the most urbanized sites are not being utilized. FDig increased with urbanization, which suggests a high degree of niche differentiation among macromycete species within communities in urbanized areas. FEve did not show notable differences along the urbanization gradient, indicating few variations in the distribution of abundances within the occupied sections of the niche space. Similarly, the functional value was markedly higher in the less urbanized site, suggesting greater performance of functional guilds in that area. Our findings suggest that urbanization has led to a loss of macromycete species and a decrease in functional diversity, causing some sections of the niche space to be hardly occupied and available resources to be under-utilized, which could, to a certain extent, affect ecosystem functioning and stability.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A676270151