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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Multiscale patterns and drivers of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities in the roots and root-associated soil of a wild perennial herb.

Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi form diverse communities and are known to influence above-ground community dynamics and biodiversity. However, the multiscale patterns and drivers of AM fungal composition and diversity are still poorly understood. We sequenced DNA markers from roots and root-associated soil from Plantago lanceolata plants collected across multiple spatial scales to allow comparison of AM fungal communities among neighbouring plants, plant subpopulations, nearby plant populations, and regions. We also measured soil nutrients, temperature, humidity, and community composition of neighbouring plants and nonAM root-associated fungi. AM fungal communities were already highly dissimilar among neighbouring plants (c. 30 cm apart), albeit with a…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Melanization of mycorrhizal fungal necromass structures microbial decomposer communities

Mycorrhizal fungal necromass is increasingly recognized as an important contributor to soil organic carbon pools, particularly in forest ecosystems. While its decomposition rate is primarily determined by biochemical composition, how traits such as melanin content affect the structure of necromass decomposer communities remains poorly understood. To assess the role of biochemical traits on microbial decomposer community composition and functioning, we incubated melanized and non-melanized necromass of the mycorrhizal fungus Meliniomyces bicolor in Pinus- and Quercus-dominated forests in Minnesota, USA and then assessed the associated fungal and bacterial decomposer communities after 1, 2 and 3 months using high-throughput sequencing. Melanized necromass…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

PCR and omics based techniques to study the diversity, ecology and biology of anaerobic fungi: Insights, challenges andopportunities.

Anaerobic fungi (phylum Neocallimastigomycota) are common inhabitants of the digestive tract of mammalian herbivores, and in the rumen, can account for up to 20% of the microbial biomass. Anaerobic fungi play a primary role in the degradation of lignocellulosic plant material. They also have a syntrophic interaction with methanogenic archaea, which increases their fiber degradation activity. To date, nine anaerobic fungal genera have been described, with further novel taxonomic groupings known to exist based on culture-independent molecular surveys. However, the true extent of their diversity may be even more extensively underestimated as anaerobic fungi continue being discovered in yet unexplored…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Great differences in performance and outcome of high-throughput sequencing data analysis platforms for fungal metabarcoding.

Along with recent developments in high-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies and thus fast accumulation of HTS data, there has been a growing need and interest for developing tools for HTS data processing and communication. In particular, a number of bioinformatics tools have been designed for analysing metabarcoding data, each with specific features, assumptions and outputs. To evaluate the potential effect of the application of different bioinformatics workflow on the results, we compared the performance of different analysis platforms on two contrasting high-throughput sequencing data sets. Our analysis revealed that the computation time, quality of error filtering and hence output of specific…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Soil microclimate changes affect soil fungal communities in a Mediterranean pine forest.

Soil microclimate is a potentially important regulator of the composition of plant-associated fungal communities in climates with significant drought periods. Here, we investigated the spatio-temporal dynamics of soil fungal communities in a Mediterranean Pinus pinaster forest in relation to soil moisture and temperature. Fungal communities in 336 soil samples collected monthly over 1 year from 28 long-term experimental plots were assessed by PacBio sequencing of ITS2 amplicons. Total fungal biomass was estimated by analysing ergosterol. Community changes were analysed in the context of functional traits. Soil fungal biomass was lowest during summer and late winter and highest during autumn, concurrent with…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

High-resolution community profiling of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.

Community analyses of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) using ribosomal small subunit (SSU) or internal transcribed spacer (ITS) DNA sequences often suffer from low resolution or coverage. We developed a novel sequencing based approach for a highly resolving and specific profiling of AMF communities. We took advantage of previously established AMF-specific PCR primers that amplify a c. 1.5-kb long fragment covering parts of SSU, ITS and parts of the large ribosomal subunit (LSU), and we sequenced the resulting amplicons with single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing. The method was applicable to soil and root samples, detected all major AMF families and successfully…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Below-ground organic matter accumulation along a boreal forest fertility gradient relates to guild interaction within fungal communities.

Plant-soil interactions link ecosystem fertility and organic matter accumulation below ground. Soil microorganisms play a central role as mediators of these interactions, but mechanistic understanding is still largely lacking. Correlative data from a coniferous forest ecosystem support the hypothesis that interactions between fungal guilds play a central role in regulating organic matter accumulation in relation to fertility. With increasing ecosystem fertility, the proportion of saprotrophic basidiomycetes increased in deeper organic layers, at the expense of ectomycorrhizal fungal species. Saprotrophs correlated positively with the activity of oxidative enzymes, which in turn favoured organic matter turnover and nitrogen recycling to plants. Combined,…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Fungal community shifts underpin declining mycelial production and turnover across a Pinus sylvestris chronosequence

Fungi play critical roles in ecosystem processes such as decomposition and nutrient cycling, but have also been highlighted as significant contributors to organic matter build-up in boreal forest soils. Ectomycorrhizal (ECM) mycelial biomass and necromass dynamics have recently been highlighted as essential for regulating build-up of soil organic matter. Understanding the extent to which shifts in mycelial community or growth trait composition cause changes in mycelial production and turnover over ecological gradients would aid a mechanistic understanding of these important processes at an ecosystem scale. Here, we test the hypotheses that shifting species and mycelial trait (exploration type) composition within…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Retention of seed trees fails to lifeboat ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity in harvested Scots pine forests.

Fennoscandian forestry has in the past decades changed from natural regeneration of forests towards replantation of clear-cuts, which negatively impacts ectomycorrhizal fungal (EMF) diversity. Retention of trees during harvesting enables EMF survival, and we therefore expected EMF communities to be more similar to those in old natural stands after forest regeneration using seed trees compared to full clear-cutting and replanting. We sequenced fungal internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) amplicons to assess EMF communities in 10- to 60-year-old Scots pine stands regenerated either using seed trees or through replanting of clear-cuts with old natural stands as reference. We also investigated local…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Soil drying procedure affects the DNA quantification of Lactarius vinosus but does not change the fungal community composition.

Drying soil samples before DNA extraction is commonly used for specific fungal DNA quantification and metabarcoding studies, but the impact of different drying procedures on both the specific fungal DNA quantity and the fungal community composition has not been analyzed. We tested three different drying procedures (freeze-drying, oven-drying, and room temperature) on 12 different soil samples to determine (a) the soil mycelium biomass of the ectomycorrhizal species Lactarius vinosus using qPCR with a specifically designed TaqMan® probe and (b) the fungal community composition and diversity using the PacBio® RS II sequencing platform. Mycelium biomass of L. vinosus was significantly greater…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Long-read DNA metabarcoding of ribosomal RNA in the analysis of fungi from aquatic environments.

DNA metabarcoding is widely used to study prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbial diversity. Technological constraints limit most studies to marker lengths below 600 base pairs (bp). Longer sequencing reads of several thousand bp are now possible with third-generation sequencing. Increased marker lengths provide greater taxonomic resolution and allow for phylogenetic methods of classification, but longer reads may be subject to higher rates of sequencing error and chimera formation. In addition, most bioinformatics tools for DNA metabarcoding were designed for short reads and are therefore unsuitable. Here, we used Pacific Biosciences circular consensus sequencing (CCS) to DNA-metabarcode environmental samples using a ca. 4,500 bp…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Root endophytes and invasiveness: no difference between native and non-native Phragmites in the Great Lakes Region

Microbial interactions could play an important role in plant invasions. If invasive plants associate with relatively more mutualists or fewer pathogens than their native counterparts, then microbial communities could foster plant invasiveness. Studies examining the effects of microbes on invasive plants commonly focus on a single microbial group (e.g., bacteria) or measure only plant response to microbes, not documenting the specific taxa associating with invaders. We surveyed root microbial communities associated with co-occurring native and non-native lineages of Phragmites australis, across Michigan, USA. Our aim was to determine whether (1) plant lineage was a stronger predictor of root microbial community…

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