Mycological Progress

, Volume 17, Issue 9, pp 1067–1085 | Cite as

Insights into fungal communities colonizing the acarosphere in a forest soil habitat

  • Sebastian WernerEmail author
  • Derek Peršoh
  • Gerhard Rambold
Original Article


Knowledge on the diversity and ecology of microfungi associated with soil-dwelling mites is rather limited. To get insights into associations between the two highly diverse groups, we studied composition and potential function of mite-associated fungal communities occurring in soil. Two different mite species living in temperate region pine forest soil were screened for associated fungi. The fungal community was assessed by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analyses in a predatory (Leptogamasus obesus) and a predominantly saprobic (Oppiella subpectinata) mite species as well as in the organic soil layer. Key fungi were identified by sequencing, and community composition was exemplarily compared between the RFLP and a 454 metabarcoding approach. Composition of the fungal communities differed between mite species and between mites and organic soil layer. The mites were predominantly associated with Zygomycota, less frequently with Ascomycota, and rarely with Basidiomycota. The bulk soil was colonized by roughly equal proportions of the three phyla. Fungal taxa being known to exhibit chitinolytic activity were predominantly restricted to mites. Compositional and functional differences between the communities suggest that mites represent a particular microhabitat for fungi, the “acarosphere.” This mobile habitat may contribute to nutrient cycling by combining fungal and animal decomposition activities and serve as vector for soil-inhabiting fungi.


Fungi Mites Micro-compartment ITS rRNA gene Leptogamasus obesus Oppiella subpectinata 



We thank Franz Horak (Karlsruhe) and Axel Christian (Görlitz) for the identification of mite species. Christina Leistner (Bayreuth) assisted with the laboratory work.

Funding information

The study was supported by the Universität Bayern e.V. (BayEFG, grant no. A4515 – I/3).

Supplementary material

11557_2018_1414_MOESM1_ESM.doc (46 kb)
Table S1 (DOC 46 kb)
11557_2018_1414_MOESM2_ESM.doc (40 kb)
Table S2 (DOC 40 kb)


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Copyright information

© German Mycological Society and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Werner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Derek Peršoh
    • 2
  • Gerhard Rambold
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MycologyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.Department of GeobotanyRuhr-University BochumBochumGermany

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