Do Growth Kinetics of Snow-mold Fungi Explain Exponential CO2 Fluxes Through the Snow?
Plant pathogenic snow-mold fungi have received much attention for many years due to their economic importance, but the identity and activity of nonpathogenic fungi of the under-snow environment have received much less study. In polar and alpine areas of the world, mats of saprophytic snow molds are commonly observed as snow melts in both forested and tundra biomes. Recent biogeochemical studies in high-elevation and high-latitude environments have shown conclusively that microbial activity under the snow pack contributes significantly to gas fluxes and to carbon and nitrogen cycling. In addition, Schmidt et al. have demonstrated that nonpathogenic snow-mold fungi are among the dominant organisms of the sub-nivean environment and carry out important ecosystem functions in tundra and forested ecosystems.
KeywordsSubzero Temperature Snow Pack Linear Growth Rate Exponential Growth Rate Snow Mold
Thanks to M. M. Gebauer, K. L. Wilson, and A. F. Meyer for assistance in the laboratory and D. R. Bowling, R. K. Monson, D. A. Lipson, and N. Trahan for helpful discussions. This work was supported by a grant (MCB-0455606) from the Microbial Observatories Program of the National Science Foundation of the USA.
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