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Can J Microbiol. 2006 Jul;52(7):689-94.

Seasonal influences on fungal community structure in unimproved and improved upland grassland soils.

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Microbial Ecology Group, Department of Industrial Microbiology, University College Dublin, Ireland.


Seasonal and management influences on the fungal community structure of two upland grassland soils were investigated. An upland site containing both unimproved floristically diverse (U4a) and improved mesotrophic (MG7b) grassland types was selected. Samples from both grassland types were taken at five times in one year. Soil fungal community structure was assessed using fungal automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA), a DNA-profiling approach. A grassland management regime was found to strongly affect fungal community structure, with fungal ARISA profiles from unimproved and improved grassland soils differing significantly. The number of fungal ribotypes found was higher in unimproved than improved grassland soils, providing evidence that improvement may reduce the suitability of upland soil as a habitat for specific groups of fungi. Seasonal influences on fungal community structure were also noted, with samples taken in autumn (October) more correlated with change in ribotype profiles than samples from other seasons. However, seasonal variation did not obscure the measurement of differences in the fungal community structure that were due to agricultural improvement, with canonical correspondence analysis indicating grassland type had a stronger influence on fungal profiles than did season.

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