Fungi in soil and understory have coupled distribution patterns.

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Date: Sept. 21, 2021
From: PeerJ(Vol. 9)
Publisher: PeerJ. Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 8,137 words
Lexile Measure: 1320L

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Abstract :

Ecological processes that control fungal distribution are not well understood because many fungi can persist in a wide variety of dissimilar habitats which are seldom sampled simultaneously. Geographic range size is reflective of species' resource usage, and for plants and animals, there is a robust positive correlation between niche-breadth and range-size. It remains unknown whether this pattern is true for fungi. To investigate the fungal niche breadth-range size relationship we identified habitat specialists and generalists from two habitats (plant leaves and soil) and asked whether habitat specialization influenced fungal biogeography. We sampled fungi from the soil and phylloplane of tropical forests in Vanuatu and used DNA metabarcoding of the fungal ITS1 region to examine rarity, range size, and habitat connectivity. Fungal communities from the soil and phylloplane are spatially autocorrelated and the spatial distribution of individual fungal OTU are coupled between habitats. Habitat breadth (generalist fungi) did not result in larger range sizes but did correlate positively with occurrence frequency. Fungi that were frequently found were also found in high abundance, a common observation in similar studies of plants and animals. Fungal abundance-occupancy relationships differed by habitat and habitat-specificity. Soil specialists were found to be locally abundant but restricted geographically. In contrast, phylloplane generalists were found to be abundant over a large range in multiple habitats. These results are discussed in the context of differences between habitat characteristics, stability and spatial distribution. Identifying factors that drive spatial variation is key to understanding the mechanisms that maintain biodiversity in forests.

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A676270147