Date: 03 Sep 2008
Fungal Taxa Target Different Carbon Sources in Forest Soil
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Soil microbes are among the most abundant and diverse organisms on Earth. Although microbial decomposers, particularly fungi, are important mediators of global carbon and nutrient cycling, the functional roles of specific taxa within natural environments remain unclear. We used a nucleotide-analog technique in soils from the Harvard Forest to characterize the fungal taxa that responded to the addition of five different carbon substrates—glycine, sucrose, cellulose, lignin, and tannin-protein. We show that fungal community structure and richness shift in response to different carbon sources, and we demonstrate that particular fungal taxa target different organic compounds within soil microcosms. Specifically, we identified eleven taxa that exhibited changes in relative abundances across substrate treatments. These results imply that niche partitioning through specialized resource use may be an important mechanism by which soil microbial diversity is maintained in ecosystems. Consequently, high microbial diversity may be necessary to sustain ecosystem processes and stability under global change.
K. K. T., M. A. B., and M. D. W. conceived the project. C. A. H. performed the molecular work and sequence alignments. M. A. B. performed the substrate-induced respiration experiment. S. D. A. and K. K. T. analyzed the data. C. A. H. wrote the article with input from the other authors.
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- Fungal Taxa Target Different Carbon Sources in Forest Soil
Volume 11, Issue 7 , pp 1157-1167
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- microbial diversity
- community structure
- soil carbon
- resource partitioning
- ecosystem function
- nucleotide analog
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Earth System Science, University of California, 5205 McGaugh Hall, Irvine, California, 92697, USA
- 2. Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, 717A Biological Sciences Bldg, Athens, Georgia, 30602, USA
- 3. Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University, NESB B242, Fort Collins, Colorado, 80523, USA