Assembly processes lead to divergent soil fungal communities within and among twelve forest ecosystems along a latitudinal gradient

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Yong Zheng, Liang Chen, Niu-Niu Ji, Yong-Long Wang, Cheng Gao, Sheng-Sheng Jin, Hang-Wei Hu, Zhiqun Huang, Ji-Zheng He, Liang-Dong Guo


- Latitudinal gradients provide opportunities to better understand soil fungal community assembly and its relationship with vegetation, climate, soil and ecosystem function. Understanding the mechanisms underlying community assembly is essential for predicting compositional responses to changing environments.
- We quantified the relative importance of stochastic and deterministic processes in structuring soil fungal communities using patterns of community dissimilarity observed within and between twelve natural forests and related these to environmental variation within and among sites.
- The results revealed that whole fungal communities and communities of arbuscular and ectomycorrhizal fungi consistently exhibited divergent patterns but with less divergence for ectomycorrhizal fungi at most sites. Within those forests, no clear relationships were observed between the degree of divergence within fungal and plant communities. When comparing communities at larger spatial scales, among the twelve forests, we observed distinct separation in all three fungal groups among tropical, subtropical and temperate climatic zones. Soil fungal β-diversity patterns between forests were also greater when comparing forests exhibiting high environmental heterogeneity.
- Taken together, although large-scale community turnover could be attributed to specific environmental drivers, the differences among fungal communities in soils within forests was high even at local scales.



Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology Life Sciences, Life Sciences, Microbiology, Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology


community assembly, forest, fungi, latitudinal gradient, neutral model, β-diversity


Published: 2021-01-15 02:49

Last Updated: 2021-05-06 06:29

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Data and Code Availability Statement:
The data will be available at doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.13543046 once the manuscript is published.

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