An assessment of ectomycorrhizal fungal communities in Tasmanian temperate high-altitude Eucalyptus delegatensis forest reveals a dominance of the Cortinariaceae
Horton, BM and Glen, M and Davidson, NJ and Ratkowsky, DA and Close, DC and Wardlaw, TJ and Mohammed, C, An assessment of ectomycorrhizal fungal communities in Tasmanian temperate high-altitude Eucalyptus delegatensis forest reveals a dominance of the Cortinariaceae, Mycorrhiza, 27, (1) pp. 67-74. ISSN 0940-6360 (2017) [Refereed Article]
Fungal diversity of Australian eucalypt forests remains underexplored. We investigated the ectomycorrhizal (EcM) fungal community characteristics of declining temperate eucalypt forests in Tasmania. Within this context, we explored the diversity of EcM fungi of two forest types in the northern highlands in the east and west of the island. We hypothesised that EcM fungal community richness and composition would differ between forest type but that the Cortinariaceae would be the dominant family irrespective of forest type. We proposed that EcM richness would be greater in the wet sclerophyll forest than the dry sclerophyll forest type. Using both sporocarps and EcM fungi from root tips amplified by PCR and sequenced in the rDNA ITS region, 175 EcM operational taxonomic units were identified of which 97 belonged to the Cortinariaceae. The Cortinariaceae were the most diverse family, in both the above and below ground communities. Three distinct fungal assemblages occurred within the wet and dry sclerophyll forest types and two geographic regions that were studied, although this pattern did not remain when only the root tip data were analysed. EcM sporocarp richness was unusually higher than root tip richness and EcM richness did not significantly differ among forest types. The results are discussed in relation to the importance of the Cortinariaceae and the drivers of EcM fungal community composition within these forests.