Contrasting patterns and drivers of soil fungal communities in subtropical deciduous and evergreen broadleaved forests
Subtropical broadleaved forests play a crucial role in supporting terrestrial ecosystem functions, but little is known about their belowground soil fungal communities despite that they have central functions in C, N, and P cycles. This study investigated the structures and identified the drivers of soil fungal communities in subtropical deciduous and evergreen broadleaved forests, using high-throughput sequencing and FUNGuild for fungal identification and assignment to the trophic guild. Fungal richness was much higher in the deciduous than in the evergreen forest. Both forests were dominated by Ascomycota and Basidiomycota phyla, but saprophytic fungi were more abundant in the deciduous forest and ectomycorrhizal fungi predominated in the evergreen forest. Fungal communities had strong links to plant and soil properties. Specifically, plant diversity and litter biomass were the main aboveground drivers of fungal diversity and composition in the deciduous forest, while host effects were prominent in the evergreen forest. The belowground factors, i.e., soil pH, water content, and nutrients especially available P, were identified as the primary drivers of soil fungal communities in the broadleaved forests. Co-occurrence network analysis revealed assembly of fungal composition in broadleaved forest soils was non-random. The smaller modularity of the network in the deciduous forest reflects lower resistance to environment changes. Concluding, these results showed that plant community attributes, soil properties, and potential interactions among fungal functional guilds operate jointly on the divergence of soil fungal community assembly in the two broadleaved forest types.
KeywordsAssembly Broadleaved forests Co-occurrence network FUNGuild High-throughput sequencing
We would like to thank Prof. Simon Queenborough at the Yale University for his assistance with the English language and grammar editing of the manuscript. We are also grateful to all the staff of the administration office of Dashanchong Forest Park for their labor support.
LC and WhX designed the study. HlW, SO, and LC carried out the soil sampling. LC and HlW performed the experiment and sequencing and analyzed data. LC wrote the paper, and all authors improved the manuscript.
This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31870431, 31570447, 41671253, and 41601272), Hunan Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (2017JJ3372), and the Huitong Forest Ecological Station funded by the State Forestry Administration of the People’s Republic of China.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
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