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Microb Ecol. 2011 May;61(4):898-910. doi: 10.1007/s00248-010-9790-7. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

Species composition of saproxylic fungal communities on decaying logs in the boreal forest.

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Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 445, Boulevard de l'Université, Rouyn-Noranda, Québec, Canada J9X 5E4.


Coarse woody debris supports large numbers of saproxylic fungal species. However, most of the current knowledge comes from Scandinavia and studies relating the effect of stand or log characteristics on the diversity and composition of decomposer fungi have not been conducted in Northeastern Canada. Logs from five tree species were sampled along a decomposition gradient in nine stands representing three successional stages of the boreal mixed forest of Northwestern Quebec, Canada. Using a molecular fingerprinting technique, we assessed fungal community Shannon-Weaver diversity index, richness, and composition. We used linear mixed models and multivariate analyses to link changes in fungal communities to log and stand characteristics. We found a total of 33 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) including an indicator species for balsam fir (similar to Athelia sp.) and one found only in aspen stands (similar to Calocera cornea). Spruce logs supported the highest fungal Shannon-Weaver diversity index and OTU number. Our results support the hypothesis that log species influences fungal richness and diversity. However, log decay class does not. Stand composition, volume of coarse woody debris, and log chemical composition were all involved in structuring fungal communities. Maintaining the diversity of wood-decomposing communities therefore requires the presence of dead wood from diverse log species.

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