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Fungi at a Small Scale: Spatial Zonation of Fungal Assemblages around Single Trees

Branco, Sara; Bruns, Thomas D; Singleton, Ian


Sara Branco

Thomas D Bruns


Biological communities are often structured by environmental factors even at small spatial scales. Fungi are no exception, though the patterns and mechanisms underlying their community structure are usually unknown. Previous work documented zonation in fungi under tree canopies primarily through their fruiting patterns. Here we investigate the existence of zonation patterns in fungal communities around isolated Pinus muricata trees of different ages in northern coastal California. Using a combination of ingrowth bags and pyrosequencing to target underground mycelium we found highly diverse soil fungal communities associated with single trees. Both ectomycorrhizal and non-ectomycorrhizal fungi were present in all samples, but the latter were more species rich, dominated the samples by sequence read abundance, and showed partitioning by canopy-defined zones and tree age. Soil chemistry was correlated with fungal zonation, but host root density was not. Our results indicate different guilds of fungi partition space differently and are driven by distinct environmental parameters.


Branco, S., Bruns, T. D., & Singleton, I. (2013). Fungi at a Small Scale: Spatial Zonation of Fungal Assemblages around Single Trees. PLOS ONE, 8(10), Article e78295.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 13, 2013
Online Publication Date Oct 16, 2013
Publication Date 2013-10
Deposit Date Aug 2, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 28, 2023
Journal PLoS ONE
Print ISSN 1932-6203
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 10
Article Number e78295
Keywords Fungi, trees, fungal structure, soil chemistry, Mycelium, sequence databases, DNA extraction, fungal pathogens,
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