Relative importance of tree genetics and microhabitat on macrofungal biodiversity on coarse woody debris
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Barbour, RC and Storer, MJ and Potts, BM, Relative importance of tree genetics and microhabitat on macrofungal biodiversity on coarse woody debris, Oecologia, 160, (2) pp. 335-342. ISSN 0029-8549 (2009) [Refereed Article]
Understanding the contribution of genetic variation within foundation species to community-level pattern and diversity represents the cornerstone of the developing field of community genetics. We assessed the relative importance of intraspecific genetic variation, spatial variation within a forest and microhabitat variation on a macrofungal decay community developing on logs of the Australian forest tree, Eucalyptus globulus. Uniform logs were harvested from trees from eight geographic races of E. globulus growing in a 15-year-old genetic trial. Logs were placed as designed grids within a native E. globulus forest and after 3 years of natural colonisation the presence of 62 macrofungal taxa were recorded from eight microhabitats on each log. The key factor found to drive macrofungal distribution and biodiversity on structurally uniform coarse woody debris was log-microhabitat, explaining 42% of the total variation in richness. Differences between log-microhabitats appeared to be due to variation in aspect, substrate (bark vs wood) and area/time of exposure to colonisation. This findings demonstrates the importance of considering fine-scale (within substrate) variation in the conservation and management of macrofungal biodiversity, an area that has received little previous attention. While a number of recent studies have demonstrated that the genetics of foundation tree species can influence dependent communities, this was not found to be the case for the early log decay community associated with E. globulus. Despite genetic variation in wood and bark properties existing within this species, there was no significant effect of tree genetics on macrofungal community richness or composition. This finding highlights the variation that may exist among guilds of organisms in their response to genetic variation within foundation species, an important consideration in a promising new area of research. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.
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