Vegetation type determines spore deposition within a forest-agricultural mosaic landscape

FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2020 Jun 1;96(6):fiaa082. doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiaa082.


Predicting fungal community assembly is partly limited by our understanding of the factors driving the composition of deposited spores. We studied the relative contribution of vegetation, geographical distance, seasonality and weather to fungal spore deposition across three vegetation types. Active and passive spore traps were established in agricultural fields, deciduous forests and coniferous forests across a geographic gradient of ∼600 km. Active traps captured the spore community suspended in air, reflecting the potential deposition, whereas passive traps reflected realized deposition. Fungal species were identified by metabarcoding of the ITS2 region. The composition of spore communities captured by passive traps differed more between vegetation types than across regions separated by >100 km, indicating that vegetation type was the strongest driver of composition of deposited spores. By contrast, vegetation contributed less to potential deposition, which followed a seasonal pattern. Within the same site, the spore communities captured by active traps differed from those captured by passive traps. Realized deposition tended to be dominated by spores of species related to vegetation. Temperature was negatively correlated with the fungal species richness of both potential and realized deposition. Our results indicate that vegetation may be able to maintain similar fungal communities across distances, and likely be the driving factor of fungal spore deposition at landscape level.

Keywords: community assembly; dispersal limitations; fungal communities; high-throughput sequencing; spore traps.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Forests*
  • Fungi / genetics
  • Mycobiome*
  • Spores, Fungal

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.10012058.v5