Spatial distribution of fungal communities in a coastal grassland soil

Clare H. Robinson, Timothy M. Szaro, Antonio D. Izzo, Ian C. Anderson, Pamela I. Parkin, Thomas D. Bruns

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In grasslands, saprotrophic fungi, including basidiomycetes, are major decomposers of dead organic matter, although spatial distributions of their mycelial assemblages are little described. The aim of this study was to characterise the scale and distribution of saprotrophic fungal communities in a coastal grassland soil using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP). Soil fungi were sampled at Point Reyes, California, USA, by taking forty-five 26 mm diam. cores in a spatially defined manner. Within each sampled core, complete core sections at 1-2 cm and 14-15 cm depths were removed and sub-sampled for DNA extraction and amplification using the primer pairs ITS1F-FAM/ITS4 (general fungi) or ITS1F-FAM/ITS4B (basidiomycete-specific). Nonmetric Multidimensional Scaling showed that general fungal communities could be clearly separated by depth, although basidiomycete communities could not. There were no strong patterns of community similarity or dissimilarity for general or basidiomycete fungal communities at horizontal geographical distances from 25 cm to 96 m in the upper horizon. These results show considerable vertical, but little horizontal, variability in fungal community structure in a semi-natural grassland at the spatial scales measured here. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)414-416
    Number of pages2
    JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


    • Basidiomycota
    • Coastal grassland
    • Fungal community
    • ITS DNA sequence
    • Point Reyes National Seashore
    • Saprotrophs
    • Spatial structure
    • T-RFLP


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