Abundance, richness, and succession of microfungi in relation to chemical changes in Antarctic moss profiles
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Little is known in continental Antarctic about patterns of abundance, diversity, and succession of microfungi within moss profiles consisting of live, senescent, and dead tissues in different stages of decomposition. In the present study, vertical patterns of the abundance and diversity of microfungi and their relationship with chemical compositions were examined within moss colonies collected from coastal outcrops in the Lützow–Holm Bay area (Queen Maud Land), East continental Antarctica. Total and darkly pigmented hyphal length, the richness of molecular operational taxonomic units (MOTUs) of microfungi, and the occurrence of Phoma herbarum and Pseudogymnoascus pannorum increased with the depth of moss profiles. The content of organic chemical components and nitrogen in moss tissues decreased, whereas ash content increased with the depth of moss profiles. Relative amount of recalcitrant compounds and total carbohydrates did not significantly differ among the vertical layers. The downward increase of the microfungal richness and occurrence in the Antarctic moss profiles without MOTU replacement was consistent with the directional-nonreplacement model of succession, indicative of the high environmental resistance, which represents the sum of the adverse factors hindering the success of species establishment. This contrasted with the fungal succession in arctic moss profiles, which accorded with the directional-replacement model, in which species replacement took place due to modification of habitat and competition. More hostile environmental conditions than those in the Arctic characterized the fungal succession and limited the fungal decomposition of moss in continental Antarctica.
KeywordsContinental Antarctica Bryophyte Bryum pseudotriquetrum Decomposition Hyphal length Phoma herbarum
We thank Dr. Y. Motoyoshi and members of JARE-51 for their assistance during the expedition; Dr. H. Kanda and Dr. A.S. Mori for useful discussions; Dr. K. Kato for helpful identification of moss species; and Dr. Elizabeth Nakajima for critical reading of the manuscript. This study was partially supported by the National Institute of Polar Research through General Collaboration Projects No. 26-28 to T.O. and by a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI Grant (No. 70370096 to M.U.).
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