Fungal Community Structure, Dynamics and Function in Decaying Wood

Published by Cori VanGalder on

Mycology from the Cloud

Symposium: Fungal Community Structure, Dynamics and Function in Decaying Wood


Lynne Boddy, Cardiff University, Wales, UK

Michelle A. Jusino; University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA, USA

WoodRot Symposium

Wood decomposition is usually brought about by a community of fungi which interact with each other, and with other organisms. The structure and activity of these communities change with time, and in response to the presence of other organisms and environmental conditions. Understanding fungal community structure and dynamics is essential for modeling and predicting ecosystem function in a globally changing environment. While solid progress has been made on describing wood decay communities in the 20th century, with modern technologies we are now able to achieve a deeper understanding, and the time is now ripe to review recent, exciting progress.

Symposium Contributors: 

Lynne Boddy; Cardiff University, Wales, UK

Michelle A. Jusino; University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA, USA

Daniel L. Lindner; USDA Forest Service, Madison, WI, USA

Emma C. Gilmartin; Cardiff University, Wales, UK; Woodland Trust, UK

François Maillard; University of Minneapolis, MN, USA

Yu Fukasawa; University Tohoku, Sendai, Japan

Talk 1: Fungal Community Structure and Change in the Heart-rot and Hollowing of Standing Angiosperm Trees”

Lynne Boddy, Emma C. Gilmartin

We will set the importance of heart-rot in an ecological context, and consider why community development occurs in the hearts of standing trees rather than in the sapwood. We will then consider how heart-rot fungi colonize, and look at some examples of communities of heart-rot fungi from European beech.

Talk 2: “Fungi in Sapwood: Endophytes and Origins of Decay”

Emma C. Gilmartin, Michelle A. Jusino, Edward J. Pyne, Mark T. Banik, Daniel L. Lindner, Lynne Boddy

Fungal communities are explored in the sapwood of European beech trees using a combination of metabarcoding and culture-based approaches.

Talk 3: “Why Predicting Outcomes is So Difficult: Intra-specific Competition and Incremental Changes in Temperature Influence Fungal Community Composition and Functional Outcomes in Wood Decomposition”

Daniel L. Lindner, Mark T. Banik, Michelle A. Jusino, Jonathan M. Palmer, Frederick Matt

While great progress has been made recently using trait-based approaches to understand decay fungi and their interactions, predicting the outcome of complex interactions of wood-decay fungal communities in natural settings still remains difficult. Using microcosm-based systems, we demonstrate that fungal individuals (genets) may be as important as fungal species in determining the outcome of decay processes, and that for complex fungal communities, changes as small as 2C can significantly alter outcomes in terms of fungal community composition, mass loss and percentage of lignin remaining. The ability to predict the amount of stable carbon residues produced through decay will be important for modeling how changes in global mean temperatures may affect the ability of forests to store carbon.

Talk 4: “New Insights into the Drivers of Wood Decay Types Occurrence in North American Forests”

François Maillard, Michelle A. Jusino, Erin Andrews, Carl Trettin, Mark T. Banik, Daniel L. Lindner, Jonathan Schilling.

Wood decomposition plays a key role in the forest carbon cycle; a process mostly mediated by brown and white rot fungi. While the physiology of brown and white rot fungi has attracted growing attention, the processes that determine their occurrence in nature remain poorly understood. In this presentation, we will present new results about the drivers of occurrence for these fungi, by rot type, in North American forests.

Talk 5: “Relationships in Decay: Ambrosia Beetles Host Phylogenetically Diverse Basidiomycete Fungi”

Michelle A. Jusino, James Skelton, Andrew J. Johnson, Marcos Caiafa Sepúlveda, You Li, Jonathan M. Palmer, Jiri Hulcr, Matthew E. Smith

Thousands of species of fungus-farming ambrosia beetles are found all over the world; most of these beetles associate with species of Ascomycota. Recently, it was discovered that some beetles farm a wood-decaying species of Basidiomycota. Here we used short and long-read high-throughput sequencing of museum specimens, combined with culture and decay assays, to identify new lineages of ambrosia fungi that are wood-decaying members of Basidiomycota. We discuss ecological impacts of these phylogenetically diverse relationships in the context of wood decay.

Talk 6: “Wood Decay Stage and Associated Fungal Community Characterize Diversity–Decomposition Relationship”

Yu Fukasawa, Kimiyo Matsukura

Initial colonizer has significant effect on species richness of developed communities.

Competitive communities make the species richness–decay relationships negative.

Wood decay stage influence the fungal species richness–decay relationships.

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