Microbial Ecology

, Volume 61, Issue 4, pp 898–910 | Cite as

Species Composition of Saproxylic Fungal Communities on Decaying Logs in the Boreal Forest

  • Hedi Kebli
  • Pascal DrouinEmail author
  • Suzanne Brais
  • Gavin Kernaghan


Coarse woody debris supports large numbers of saproxylic fungal species. However, most of the current knowledge comes from Scandinavia and studies relating the effect of stand or log characteristics on the diversity and composition of decomposer fungi have not been conducted in Northeastern Canada. Logs from five tree species were sampled along a decomposition gradient in nine stands representing three successional stages of the boreal mixed forest of Northwestern Quebec, Canada. Using a molecular fingerprinting technique, we assessed fungal community Shannon–Weaver diversity index, richness, and composition. We used linear mixed models and multivariate analyses to link changes in fungal communities to log and stand characteristics. We found a total of 33 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) including an indicator species for balsam fir (similar to Athelia sp.) and one found only in aspen stands (similar to Calocera cornea). Spruce logs supported the highest fungal Shannon–Weaver diversity index and OTU number. Our results support the hypothesis that log species influences fungal richness and diversity. However, log decay class does not. Stand composition, volume of coarse woody debris, and log chemical composition were all involved in structuring fungal communities. Maintaining the diversity of wood-decomposing communities therefore requires the presence of dead wood from diverse log species.


Internal Transcribe Spacer Fungal Community Canonical Correspondence Analysis Operational Taxonomic Unit Coarse Woody Debris 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies (FQRNT, grant 121414) and by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (grant 217118-02). We are grateful to Dr. Marc Mazerolle for statistical support, Dr. David Paré for chemical analysis, Dr. Bernhard Denneler for wood identification, and Josée Frenette for technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hedi Kebli
    • 1
  • Pascal Drouin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Suzanne Brais
    • 1
  • Gavin Kernaghan
    • 2
  1. 1.Université du Québec en Abitibi-TémiscamingueRouyn-NorandaCanada
  2. 2.Biology DepartmentMount St. Vincent UniversityHalifaxCanada

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