Tree species identity and diversity drive fungal richness and community composition along an elevational gradient in a Mediterranean ecosystem

Alessandro Saitta, Sten Anslan, Mohammad Bahram, Luca Brocca, Leho Tedersoo, 2017, Tree species identity and diversity drive fungal richness and community composition along an elevational gradient in a Mediterranean ecosystem, Mycorrhiza (Berl.) (2017). doi_10.1007/s00572-017-0806-8,
URL: http://www.cnr.it/prodotto/i/378086

Ecological and taxonomic knowledge is important for conservation and utilization of biodiversity. Biodiversity and ecology of fungi in Mediterranean ecosystems is poorly understood. Here, we examined the diversity and spatial distribution of fungi along an elevational gradient in a Mediterranean ecosystem, using DNA metabarcoding. This study provides novel information about diversity of all ecological and taxonomic groups of fungi along an elevational gradient in a Mediterranean ecosystem. Our analyses revealed that among all biotic and abiotic variables tested, host species identity is the main driver of the fungal richness and fungal community composition. Fungal richness was strongly associated with tree richness and peaked in Quercus-dominated habitats and Cistus-dominated habitats. The highest taxonomic richness of ectomycorrhizal fungi was observed under Quercus ilex, whereas the highest taxonomic richness of saprotrophs was found under Pinus. Our results suggest that the effect of plant diversity on fungal richness and community composition may override that of abiotic variables across environmental gradients.

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