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Are Drivers of Root-Associated Fungal Community Structure Context Specific?

Alzarhani, A Khuzaim and Clark, Dave R and Underwood, Graham JC and Ford, Hilary and Cotton, TE Anne and Dumbrell, Alexander (2019) 'Are Drivers of Root-Associated Fungal Community Structure Context Specific?' ISME Journal, 13 (5). pp. 1330-1344. ISSN 1751-7362

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The composition and structure of plant-root-associated fungal communities are determined by local abiotic and biotic conditions. However, the relative influence and identity of relationships to abiotic and biotic factors may differ across environmental and ecological contexts, and fungal functional groups. Thus, understanding which aspects of root-associated fungal community ecology generalise across contexts is the first step towards a more predictive framework. We investigated how the relative importance of biotic and abiotic factors scale across environmental and ecological contexts using high-throughput sequencing (ca. 55 M Illumina metabarcoding sequences) of >260 plant-root-associated fungal communities from six UK salt marshes across two geographic regions (South-East and North-West England) in winter and summer. Levels of root-associated fungal diversity were comparable with forests and temperate grasslands, quadrupling previous estimates of salt-marsh fungal diversity. Whilst abiotic variables were generally most important, a range of site- and spatial scale-specific abiotic and biotic drivers of diversity and community composition were observed. Consequently, predictive models of diversity trained on one site, extrapolated poorly to others. Fungal taxa from the same functional groups responded similarly to the specific drivers of diversity and composition. Thus site, spatial scale and functional group are key factors that, if accounted for, may lead to a more predictive understanding of fungal community ecology.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fungi; Plant Roots; Ecology; Soil Microbiology; Biodiversity; Species Specificity; England; High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing; Forests; Mycobiome
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2019 12:10
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 12:45

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