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Effects of artificial defoliation of pines on the structure and physiology of the soil fungal community of a mixed pine-spruce forestLoss of photosynthetic area can affect soil microbial communities by altering the availability of fixed carbon. We used denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and Biolog filamentous-fungus plates to determine the effects of artificial defoliation of pines in a mixed pine-spruce forest on the composition of the fungal community in a forest soil. As measured by DGGE, two fungal species were affected significantly by the defoliation of pines (P < 0.001); the frequency of members of the ectomycorrhizal fungus genus Cenococcum decreased significantly, while the frequency of organisms of an unidentified soil fungus increased. The decrease in the amount of Cenococcum organisms may have occurred because of the formation of extensive hyphal networks by species of this genus, which require more of the carbon fixed by their host, or because this fungus is dependent upon quantitative differences in spruce root exudates. The defoliation of pines did not affect the overall composition of the soil fungal community or fungal-species richness (number of species per core). Biolog filamentous-fungus plate assays indicated a significant increase (P < 0.001) in the number of carbon substrates utilized by the soil fungi and the rate at which these substrates were used, which could indicate an increase in fungal-species richness. Thus, either small changes in the soil fungal community give rise to significant increases in physiological capabilities or PCR bias limits the reliability of the DGGE results. These data indicate that combined genetic and physiological assessments of the soil fungal community are needed to accurately assess the effect of disturbance on indigenous microbial systems.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Cullings, Ken (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Raleigh, Christopher
New, Michael H.
Henson, Joan
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 2005
Publication Information
Publication: Applied and environmental microbiology
Volume: 71
Issue: 4
ISSN: 0099-2240
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits