Small-scale variation in a pristine montane cloud forest: evidence on high soil fungal diversity and biogeochemical heterogeneity.

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From: PeerJ(Vol. 9)
Publisher: PeerJ. Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 12,137 words
Lexile Measure: 1440L

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Abstract :

Montane cloud forests are fragile biodiversity hotspots. To attain their conservation, disentangling diversity patterns at all levels of ecosystem organization is mandatory. Biotic communities are regularly structured by environmental factors even at small spatial scales. However, studies at this scale have received less attention with respect to larger macroscale explorations, hampering the robust view of ecosystem functioning. In this sense, fungal small-scale processes remain poorly understood in montane cloud forests, despite their relevance. Herein, we analyzed soil fungal diversity and ecological patterns at the small-scale (within a 10 m triangular transect) in a pristine montane cloud forest of Mexico, using ITS rRNA gene amplicon Illumina sequencing and biogeochemical profiling. We detected a taxonomically and functionally diverse fungal community, dominated by few taxa and a large majority of rare species (81%). Undefined saprotrophs represented the most abundant trophic guild. Moreover, soil biogeochemical data showed an environmentally heterogeneous setting with patchy clustering, where enzymatic activities suggest distinctive small-scale soil patterns. Our results revealed that in this system, deterministic processes largely drive the assemblage of fungal communities at the small-scale, through multifactorial environmental filtering.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A671497352