10 Context-Dependent Interaction Hierarchies and the Organization of Ectomycorrhizal Fungal Communities

  • R. T. Koide
Part of the The Mycota book series (MYCOTA, volume 9)


Interspecific interactions, such as competition, occur among members of ectomycorrhizal fungal communities and serve as structuring forces in the development and maintenance of such communities. Under a stable set of environmental conditions, competitive hierarchies (or, in the more general case, interaction hierarchies) become established, resulting in the expression of dominance hierarchies. However, interaction hierarchies are context-dependent; competitive rankings among species, for example, depend on environmental conditions. Context-dependency occurs because of species-specific tolerances to and preferences (traits) for environmental conditions. Therefore, dominance within communities shifts from one species to another as environmental conditions shift in time or space. Phenomena such as habitat partitioning and host specificity, as well as community responses to disturbance and shifts in community structure along environmental gradients, can be explained by the context-dependence of interaction hierarchies among ectomycorrhizal fungi. Understanding the context-dependence of interaction hierarchies in terms of the relationships between species traits and environmental heterogeneity can elucidate general principles involved in the structuring of biological communities.


Forest Floor Mineralization Rate Ectomycorrhizal Fungus Interspecific Interaction Saprotrophic Fungus 
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.



I thank Chris Fernandez, Kristin Haider, Matt Peoples, and Krittika Petprakob for helpful suggestions during the development of this chapter. I also acknowledge financial support from the Northeast Sun Grant Initiative and the USDA NIFA AFRI.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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