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, 111 (Pt 3), 339-46

Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Morel Fruiting

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Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Morel Fruiting

Jeanne D Mihail et al. Mycol Res.

Abstract

The biotic and abiotic factors conditioning morel fruit body production are incompletely known. We examined spatial and temporal patterns of Morchella esculenta fruiting over five years in a wooded site in Missouri, USA. Fruiting onset was inversely correlated with spring air and soil temperatures, whereas abundance was positively correlated with rain events (>10mm) during the 30 d preceding fruiting. The two years with the greatest fruiting had the shortest fruiting seasons (6-7d). Fruiting season length was positively correlated with soil warming, suggesting that a narrow range of optimum soil temperatures favour the explosive production of fruit bodies. All woody stems of at least 1cm diam were mapped and stem diameter and crown condition were noted. Morel fruit bodies were significantly closer to stems of Carya spp., Tilia americana and Ulmus americana than predicted by the frequencies of these woody species or their contribution to the total basal area on the site. Although intra-annual clustering of fruit bodies was often observed, inter-annual clustering was not. The spatial pattern of M. esculenta fruiting appears to be associated with vegetation pattern, whereas the onset and abundance of fruiting are determined by the interaction of spring temperatures with availability of supporting precipitation.

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