Fungal molecular ecology
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Rescooped by Håvard Kauserud from Plant pathogenic fungi
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MIG-seq: an effective PCR-based method for genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism genotyping using the next-generation sequencing platform

MIG-seq: an effective PCR-based method for genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism genotyping using the next-generation sequencing platform | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it
Restriction-enzyme (RE)-based next-generation sequencing methods have revolutionized marker-assisted genetic studies; however, the use of REs has limited their widespread adoption, especially in field samples with low-quality DNA and/or small quantities of DNA. Here, we developed a PCR-based procedure to construct reduced representation libraries without RE digestion steps, representing de novo single-nucleotide polymorphism discovery, and its genotyping using next-generation sequencing. Using multiplexed inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) primers, thousands of genome-wide regions were amplified effectively from a wide variety of genomes, without prior genetic information. We demonstrated: 1) Mendelian gametic segregation of the discovered variants; 2) reproducibility of genotyping by checking its applicability for individual identification; and 3) applicability in a wide variety of species by checking standard population genetic analysis. This approach, called multiplexed ISSR genotyping by sequencing, should be applicable to many marker-assisted genetic studies with a wide range of DNA qualities and quantities.

Via Steve Marek
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Lazy microbes are key for soil carbon and nitrogen sequestration

Lazy microbes are key for soil carbon and nitrogen sequestration | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it
The world's soils store on the order of 2500 gigatons of carbon, which is three times the amount in the atmosphere (or equivalent to 9170 gigatons of CO2). Yet the mechanisms behind this storage are not completely understood.

A new study, published in the journal Nature Communications, shows that lazy, or 'cheater' microbes, which rely on those around them to make enzymes for digesting plant material lead to the build-up of organic material in soil by regulating the rate of decomposition and increasing the amount of microbial remains in the soil. The study thereby introduces a new possible control mechanism - enabled by social interactions among individual microbes - that may help to explain the massive reservoir of carbon and other nutrients in soil.

Via Jean-Michel Ané
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Metagenomics: Tools and Insights for Analyzing Next-Generation Sequencing Data Derived from Biodiversity Studies

Metagenomics: Tools and Insights for Analyzing Next-Generation Sequencing Data Derived from Biodiversity Studies | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it

Broad review of metagenomic analysis tools.


Via Bradford Condon
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Fungus shapes hair ice – Researchers identify fungus responsible for peculiar ice filaments that grow on dead wood

Fungus shapes hair ice – Researchers identify fungus responsible for peculiar ice filaments that grow on dead wood | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it

You may have never seen or heard of it, but hair ice – a type of ice that has the shape of fine, silky hairs and resembles white candy floss – is remarkable. It grows on the rotten branches of certain trees when the weather conditions are just right, usually during humid winter nights when the air temperature drops slightly below 0°C. Now, a team of scientists in Germany and Switzerland have identified the missing ingredient that gives hair ice its peculiar shape: the fungus Exidiopsis effusa. The research is published today (22 July) in Biogeosciences, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

“When we saw hair ice for the first time on a forest walk, we were surprised by its beauty,” says Christian Mätzler from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Bern in Switzerland. “Sparked by curiosity, we started investigating this phenomenon, at first using simple tests, such as letting hair ice melt in our hands until it melted completely.”


Via Francis Martin
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Analysis of single root-tip microbiomes suggests that distinctive bacterial communities are selected by Pinus sylvestris roots colonized by different ectomycorrhizal fungi

Symbiotic ectomycorrhizal tree roots represent an important niche for interaction with bacteria since the fungi colonising them have a large surface area and receive a direct supply of photosynthetically derived carbon. We examined individual root tips of Pinus sylvestris at defined time points between 5 days and 24 weeks, identified the dominant fungi colonising each root tip using Sanger sequencing and the bacterial communities colonising individual root tips by 454 pyrosequencing. Bacterial colonisation was extremely dynamic with statistically significant variation in time and increasing species richness until week 16 (3477 OTUs). Bacterial community structure of roots colonised by Russula sp. 6 GJ-2013b, Piloderma spp., Meliniomyces variabilis and Paxillus involutus differed significantly at weeks 8 and 16 but diversity declined and significant differences were no longer apparent at week 24. The most common genera were Burkholderia, Sphingopyxsis, Dyella, Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Actinospica, Aquaspirillum, Acidobacter Gp1, Sphingomonas, Terriglobus, Enhydrobacter, Herbaspirillum and Bradyrhizobium. Many genera had high initial abundance at week 8, declining with time but Dyella and Terriglobus increased in abundance at later time points. In roots colonised by Piloderma spp. several other bacterial genera, such as Actinospica, Bradyrhizobium, Acidobacter Gp1 and Rhizomicrobium appeared to increase in abundance at later sampling points.

Via Jean-Michel Ané, Francis Martin
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Flow cytometry reveals that the rust fungus, Uromyces bidentis (Pucciniales), possesses the largest fungal genome reported

Flow cytometry reveals that the rust fungus, Uromyces bidentis (Pucciniales), possesses the largest fungal genome reported | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it

Among the Eukaryotes, Fungi have relatively small genomes (average of 44.2 Mbp across 1850 species). The order Pucciniales (Basidiomycota) has the largest average genome size among fungi (305 Mbp), and includes the two largest fungal genomes reported so far (Puccinia chrysanthemi and Gymnosporangium confusum, with 806.5 and 893.2 Mbp, respectively). In this work, flow cytometry was employed to determine the genome size of the Bidens pilosa rust pathogen, Uromyces bidentis. The results obtained revealed that U. bidentis presents a surprisingly large haploid genome size of 2489 Mbp. This value is almost three times larger than the previous largest fungal genome reported and over 50 times larger than the average fungal genome size. Microscopic examination of U. bidentis nuclei also showed that they are not as different in size from the B. pilosa nuclei when compared with the differences between other rusts and their host plants. This result further reinforces the position of the Pucciniales as the fungal group with the largest genomes, prompting studies addressing the role of repetitive elements and polyploidy in the evolution, pathological specialization and diversity of fungal species.


Via Francis Martin
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Mushrooms as Rainmakers: How Spores Act as Nuclei for Raindrops

Mushrooms as Rainmakers: How Spores Act as Nuclei for Raindrops | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it
Millions of tons of fungal spores are dispersed in the atmosphere every year. These living cells, along with plant spores and pollen grains, may act as nuclei for condensation of water in clouds. Basidiospores released by mushrooms form a significant proportion of these aerosols, particularly above tropical forests. Mushroom spores are discharged from gills by the rapid displacement of a droplet of fluid on the cell surface. This droplet is formed by the condensation of water on the spore surface stimulated by the secretion of mannitol and other hygroscopic sugars. This fluid is carried with the spore during discharge, but evaporates once the spore is airborne. Using environmental electron microscopy, we have demonstrated that droplets reform on spores in humid air. The kinetics of this process suggest that basidiospores are especially effective as nuclei for the formation of large water drops in clouds. Through this mechanism, mushroom spores may promote rainfall in ecosystems that support large populations of ectomycorrhizal and saprotrophic basidiomycetes. Our research heightens interest in the global significance of the fungi and raises additional concerns about the sustainability of forests that depend on heavy precipitation.

Via Christophe Jacquet, Steve Marek
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Diversity, population genetics, and phylogeography of selected wild mushrooms

Diversity, population genetics, and phylogeography of selected wild mushrooms | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it
In this special issue of Mycology, the four reviews provide a snapshot of what we know about the diversity, population genetics, and phylogeography of several representative groups of wild mushrooms. Though the reviewed groups of fungi did not include all recent advances on this topic, the selected mushrooms represent a diversity of species and lifestyles, including ascomycetes (Du et al. 2015; Tang et al. 2015) and basidiomycetes (Tang et al. 2015; Wang et al. 2015; Zhang et al. 2015); edible and poisonous species (Zhang et al. 2015); saprophytes and ectomycorrhizae; and plant-associated and animal-associated fungi (Tang et al. 2015). The discussed geographic scales vary from very fine-scale to large geographic regions. In addition, the molecular markers and analytical approaches captured here reflect the diversity of those in the broad scientific literature.

Via Steve Marek
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FungiFun2: a comprehensive online resource for systematic analysis of gene lists from fungal species

FungiFun2: a comprehensive online resource for systematic analysis of gene lists from fungal species | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it

Systematically extracting biological meaning from omics data is a major challenge in systems biology. Enrichment analysis is often used to identify characteristic patterns in candidate lists. FungiFun is a user-friendly Web tool for functional enrichment analysis of fungal genes and proteins. The novel tool FungiFun2 uses a completely revised data management system and thus allows enrichment analysis for 298 currently available fungal strains published in standard databases. FungiFun2 offers a modern Web interface and creates interactive tables, charts and figures, which users can directly manipulate to their needs.


Via Francis Martin
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Compartmentalized and contrasted response of ectomycorrhizal and soil fungal communities of Scots pine forests along elevation gradients in France and Spain

Compartmentalized and contrasted response of ectomycorrhizal and soil fungal communities of Scots pine forests along elevation gradients in France and Spain | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it

Fungi are principal actors of forest soils implied in many ecosystem services and the mediation of tree's responses. Forecasting fungal responses to environmental changes is necessary for maintaining forest productivity, although our partial understanding of how abiotic and biotic factors affect fungal communities is restricting the predictions. We examined fungal communities of Pinus sylvestris along elevation gradients to check potential responses to climate change-associated factors. Fungi of roots and soils were analysed at a regional scale, by using a high-throughput sequencing approach. Overall soil fungal richness increased with pH, whereas it did not vary with climate. However, when representative sub-assemblages, i.e. Ascomycetes/Basidiomycetes, and families were analysed, they differentially answered to climatic and edaphic variables. This response was dependent on where they settled, i.e. soil versus roots, and/or on their lifestyle, i.e. mycorrhizal or not, suggesting different potential functional weights within the community. Our results revealed a highly compartmentalized and contrasted response of fungal communities in forest soils. The different response of fungal sub-assemblages indicated a range of possible selective direct and indirect (i.e. via host) impacts of climatic variations on these communities, of unknown functional consequences, that helps in understanding potential fungal responses under future global change scenarios.


Via Francis Martin
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Microsporidia: Eukaryotic Intracellular Parasites Shaped by Gene Loss and Horizontal Gene Transfers - Annual Review of Microbiology

Microsporidia are eukaryotic parasites of many animals that appear to have adapted to an obligate intracellular lifestyle by modifying the morphology and content of their cells. Living inside other cells, they have lost many, or all, metabolic functions, resulting in genomes that are always gene poor and often very small. The minute content of microsporidian genomes led many to assume that these parasites are biochemically static and uninteresting. However, recent studies have demonstrated that these organisms can be surprisingly complex and dynamic. In this review I detail the most significant recent advances in microsporidian genomics and discuss how these have affected our understanding of many biological aspects of these peculiar eukaryotic intracellular pathogens.

Via Francis Martin, Håvard Kauserud
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Entorrhizomycota: A New Fungal Phylum Reveals New Perspectives on the Evolution of Fungi

Entorrhizomycota: A New Fungal Phylum Reveals New Perspectives on the Evolution of Fungi | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it
Entorrhiza is a small fungal genus comprising 14 species that all cause galls on roots of Cyperaceae and Juncaceae. Although this genus was established 130 years ago, crucial questions on the phylogenetic relationships and biology of this enigmatic taxon are still unanswered. In order to infer a robust hypothesis about the phylogenetic position of Entorrhiza and to evaluate evolutionary trends, multiple gene sequences and morphological characteristics of Entorrhiza were analyzed and compared with respective findings in Fungi. In our comprehensive five-gene analyses Entorrhiza appeared as a highly supported monophyletic lineage representing the sister group to the rest of the Dikarya, a phylogenetic placement that received but moderate maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony bootstrap support. An alternative maximum likelihood tree with the constraint that Entorrhiza forms a monophyletic group with Basidiomycota could not be rejected. According to the first phylogenetic hypothesis, the teliospore tetrads of Entorrhiza represent the prototype of the dikaryan meiosporangium. The alternative hypothesis is supported by similarities in septal pore structure, cell wall and spindle pole bodies. Based on the isolated phylogenetic position of Entorrhiza and its peculiar combination of features related to ultrastructure and reproduction mode, we propose a new phylum Entorrhizomycota, for the genus Entorrhiza, which represents an apparently widespread group of inconspicuous fungi.

Via Francis Martin, Bradford Condon
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Tree diversity and species identity effects on soil fungi, protists and animals are context dependent

Tree diversity and species identity effects on soil fungi, protists and animals are context dependent | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it

Plant species richness and the presence of certain influential species (sampling effect) drive the stability and functionality of ecosystems as well as primary production and biomass of consumers. However, little is known about these floristic effects on richness and community composition of soil biota in forest habitats owing to methodological constraints. We developed a DNA metabarcoding approach to identify the major eukaryote groups directly from soil with roughly species-level resolution. Using this method, we examined the effects of tree diversity and individual tree species on soil microbial biomass and taxonomic richness of soil biota in two experimental study systems in Finland and Estonia and accounted for edaphic variables and spatial autocorrelation. Our analyses revealed that the effects of tree diversity and individual species on soil biota are largely context dependent. Multiple regression and structural equation modelling suggested that biomass, soil pH, nutrients and tree species directly affect richness of different taxonomic groups. The community composition of most soil organisms was strongly correlated due to similar response to environmental predictors rather than causal relationships. On a local scale, soil resources and tree species have stronger effect on diversity of soil biota than tree species richness per se

 

 


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Nature communications: Multitrophic diversity in a biodiverse forest is highly nonlinear across spatial scales

Nature communications: Multitrophic diversity in a biodiverse forest is highly nonlinear across spatial scales | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it

Subtropical and tropical forests are biodiversity hotspots, and untangling the spatial scaling of their diversity is fundamental for understanding global species richness and conserving biodiversity essential to human well-being. However, scale-dependent diversity distributions among coexisting taxa remain poorly understood for heterogeneous environments in biodiverse regions. We show that diversity relations among 43 taxa—including plants, arthropods and microorganisms—in a mountainous subtropical forest are highly nonlinear across spatial scales. Taxon-specific differences in β-diversity cause under- or overestimation of overall diversity by up to 50% when using surrogate taxa such as plants. Similar relationships may apply to half of all (sub)tropical forests—including major biodiversity hotspots—where high environmental heterogeneity causes high biodiversity and species turnover. Our study highlights that our general understanding of biodiversity patterns has to be improved—and that much larger areas will be required than in better-studied lowland forests—to reliably estimate biodiversity distributions and devise conservation strategies for the world’s biodiverse regions.


Via Stéphane Hacquard, Francis Martin
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Global biogeography of marine fungi is shaped by the environment

Global biogeography of marine fungi is shaped by the environment | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it

Fungi are essential components of marine ecosystems, yet very little is known about their global distribution and diversity in the marine environment. In this study, we analyzed marine fungal community structure at a global scale using the International Census of Marine Microbes dataset. Marine fungal communities sampled from both the water column and sediments were compared. Based on the sequences of the nuclear ribosomal small subunit V9 region, 2200 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified at 97% similarity. There was a significant distinction between the pelagic and benthic communities, with 15.4% OTUs shared between the two realms. Environmental factors, particularly sample depth, oxygen, and nitrate, strongly correlated with the fungal community composition and explained more variance than did geographic distance. This study represents the first global-scale analysis of marine fungal community structure, and highlights potential opportunities for research in marine fungal ecology and biogeography.


Via Francis Martin
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Stable isotope composition of mycophagous collembolans versus mycotrophic plants: Do soil invertebrates feed on mycorrhizal fungi?

Stable isotope composition of mycophagous collembolans versus mycotrophic plants: Do soil invertebrates feed on mycorrhizal fungi? | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it
Ectomycorrhizal fungi constitute a large proportion of the belowground microbial biomass and contribute significantly to nutrient cycling, but their role in soil food webs remains poorly known. In this study, we compared the δ13C and δ15N values of collembolans and mycoheterotrophic plants. Stable isotope composition of collembolans was very similar to those of mycotrophic plants associated with saprotrophic fungi. In contrast, mycotrophic plants associated with mycorrhizal fungi were enriched in 15N relative to collembolans by at least 5‰. Our data suggest that soil collembolans do not use mycorrhizal fungi as the main food source, and support an emerging view that extramatrical mycorrhizal mycelium can be retained in the soil to serve as a progenitor of stabilized soil organic matter.

Via Jean-Michel Ané
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The Importance of Ectomycorrhizal Networks for Nutrient Retention and Carbon Sequestration in Forest Ecosystems

Extramatrical mycelium (EMM) of mycorrhizal fungi have a fundamental role in carbon (C) cycling in forest ecosystems. This carbon is used for building extensive mycelial networks in the soil as well as for metabolic activity related to nutrient uptake. Here we discuss the factors that regulate the production and turnover of EMM and its role in soil C dynamics and nitrogen retention. C availability seems to be the key factor determining EMM production and possibly its standing biomass in forests but direct effects of mineral nutrient availability on the EMM can also be important. There is great uncertainty about the rate of turnover of EMM, and the increasing evidence that residues of EM fungi play a major role in the formation of stable N and C in soil organic matter highlights the need to include mycorrhizal effects in models of global soil C stores.

Via Jean-Michel Ané
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Microbiomes in light of traits: A phylogenetic perspective

Microbiomes in light of traits: A phylogenetic perspective | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it
Microbial communities—microbiomes—are intricately linked to human health and critical ecosystem services. New technologies allow the rapid characterization of hundreds of samples at a time and provide a sweeping perspective on microbiome patterns. However, a systematic understanding of what determines microbiome diversity and composition and its implications for system functioning is still lacking. A focus on the phenotypic characteristics of microorganisms—their traits—offers a path for interpreting the growing amount of microbiome data. Indeed, a variety of trait-based approaches have been proposed for plants and animal communities, and this approach has helped to clarify the mechanisms underlying community assembly, diversity-process relationships, and ecosystem responses to environmental change.

Although there is a growing emphasis on microbial traits, the concept has not been fully appreciated in microbiology. However, a trait focus for microorganisms may present an even larger research opportunity than for macro-organisms. Not only do microorganisms play a central role in nutrient and energy cycling in most systems, but the techniques used to characterize microbiomes usually provide extensive molecular and phylogenetic information.

ADVANCES
One major difference between macro- and microorganisms is the potential for horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in microbes. Higher rates of HGT mean that many microbial traits might be unrelated to the history of the vertically descended parts of the genome. If true, then the taxonomic composition of a microbiome might reveal little about the health or functioning of a system. We first review key aspects of microbial traits and then recent studies that document the distribution of microbial traits onto the tree of life. A synthesis of these studies reveals that, despite the promiscuity of HGT, microbial traits appear to be phylogenetically conserved, or not distributed randomly across the tree of life. Further, microbial traits appear to be conserved in a hierarchical fashion, possibly linked to their biochemical and genetic complexity. For instance, traits such as pH and salinity preference are relatively deeply conserved, such that taxa within deep clades tend to share the trait. In contrast, other traits like the ability to use simple carbon substrates or to take up organic phosphorus are shallowly conserved, and taxa share these traits only within small, shallow clades.

OUTLOOK
The phylogenetic, trait-based framework that emerges offers a path to interpret microbiome variation and its connection to the health and functioning of environmental, engineered, and human systems. In particular, the taxonomic resolution of biogeographic patterns provides information about the traits under selection, even across entirely different systems. Parallels observed among human and free-living communities support this idea. For instance, microbial traits related to growth on different substrates (e.g., proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) in the human gut appear to be conserved at approximately the genus level, a resolution associated with the level of conservation of glycoside hydrolase genes in bacteria generally. A focus on two particular types of traits—response and effect traits—may also aid in microbiome management, whether that means maintaining human health or mitigating climate change impacts. Future work on microbial traits must consider three challenges: the influence of different trait measurements on cross-study comparisons; correlations between traits within and among microorganisms; and interactions among microbial traits, the environment, and other organisms. Our conclusions also have implications for the growing field of community phylogenetics beyond applications to microorganisms.

Via Jean-Michel Ané, Stéphane Hacquard
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Does Microbial Diversity Confound General Predictions?

Does Microbial Diversity Confound General Predictions? | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it
Microbes show more geographic diversity than previously expected, a serious challenge for ecological prediction. However, a recent study shows that microbial communities from a global grassland plot network responded consistently to nutrient addition. These results highlight the risks of nutrient deposition, but also hope for generalized understanding of microbial communities.

Via Stéphane Hacquard, Jean-Michel Ané
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Microbiota of the indoor environment: a meta-analysis

We present a snapshot of an important scientific field in its early stages, where studies have tended to focus on heavy sampling in a few geographic areas. From the practical perspective, this endeavor reinforces the importance of negative “kit” controls in microbiome studies. From the perspective of understanding mechanistic processes in the built environment, this meta-analysis confirms that broad factors, such as geography and building type, structure indoor microbes. However, this exercise suggests that individual studies with common sampling techniques may be more appropriate to explore the relative importance of subtle indoor environmental factors on the indoor microbiome.

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Revisiting the ‘Gadgil effect’: do interguild fungal interactions control carbon cycling in forest soils?

Revisiting the ‘Gadgil effect’: do interguild fungal interactions control carbon cycling in forest soils? | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it

In forest ecosystems, ectomycorrhizal and saprotrophic fungi play a central role in the breakdown of soil organic matter (SOM). Competition between these two fungal guilds has long been hypothesized to lead to suppression of decomposition rates, a phenomenon known as the ‘Gadgil effect’. In this review, we examine the documentation, generality, and potential mechanisms involved in the ‘Gadgil effect’. We find that the influence of ectomycorrhizal fungi on litter and SOM decomposition is much more variable than previously recognized. To explain the inconsistency in size and direction of the ‘Gadgil effect’, we argue that a better understanding of underlying mechanisms is required. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each of the primary mechanisms proposed to date and how using different experimental methods (trenching, girdling, microcosms), as well as considering different temporal and spatial scales, could influence the conclusions drawn about this phenomenon. Finally, we suggest that combining new research tools such as high-throughput sequencing with experiments utilizing natural environmental gradients will significantly deepen our understanding of the ‘Gadgil effect’ and its consequences on forest soil carbon and nutrient cycling.


Via Francis Martin
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Jean-Michel Ané's curator insight, September 14, 2015 5:34 PM

Very intersting topic.

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Global assessment of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus diversity reveals very low endemism

The global biogeography of microorganisms remains largely unknown, in contrast to the well-studied diversity patterns of macroorganisms. We used arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus DNA from 1014 plant-root samples collected worldwide to determine the global distribution of these plant symbionts. We found that AM fungal communities reflected local environmental conditions and the spatial distance between sites. However, despite AM fungi apparently possessing limited dispersal ability, we found 93% of taxa on multiple continents and 34% on all six continents surveyed. This contrasts with the high spatial turnover of other fungal taxa and with the endemism displayed by plants at the global scale. We suggest that the biogeography of AM fungi is driven by unexpectedly efficient dispersal, probably via both abiotic and biotic vectors, including humans.

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Continental-scale distributions of dust-associated bacteria and fungi

Continental-scale distributions of dust-associated bacteria and fungi | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it

...We collected dust samples from the external surfaces of ∼1,200 households located across the United States to understand the continental-scale distributions of bacteria and fungi in the near-surface atmosphere. The microbial communities were highly variable in composition across the United States, but the geographic patterns could be explained by climatic and soil variables, with coastal regions of the United States sharing similar airborne microbial communities. ...

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Direct and indirect effects of climate change on soil microbial and soil microbial-plant interactions: What lies ahead?

Direct and indirect effects of climate change on soil microbial and soil microbial-plant interactions: What lies ahead? | Fungal molecular ecology | Scoop.it
Global change is altering species distributions and thus interactions among organisms. Organisms live in concert with thousands of other species, some beneficial, some pathogenic, some which have little to no effect in complex communities. Since natural communities are composed of organisms with very different life history traits and dispersal ability it is unlikely they will all respond to climatic change in a similar way. Disjuncts in plant-pollinator and plant-herbivore interactions under global change have been relatively well described, but plant-soil microorganism and soil microbe-microbe relationships have received less attention. Since soil microorganisms regulate nutrient transformations, provide plants with nutrients, allow co-existence among neighbors, and control plant populations, changes in soil microorganism-plant interactions could have significant ramifications for plant community composition and ecosystem function. In this paper we explore how climatic change affects soil microbes and soil microbe-plant interactions directly and indirectly, discuss what we see as emerging and exciting questions and areas for future research, and discuss what ramifications changes in these interactions may have on the composition and function of ecosystems.

Via Francis Martin, Niklaus Grunwald
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Microsporidia: Eukaryotic Intracellular Parasites Shaped by Gene Loss and Horizontal Gene Transfers - Annual Review of Microbiology

Microsporidia are eukaryotic parasites of many animals that appear to have adapted to an obligate intracellular lifestyle by modifying the morphology and content of their cells. Living inside other cells, they have lost many, or all, metabolic functions, resulting in genomes that are always gene poor and often very small. The minute content of microsporidian genomes led many to assume that these parasites are biochemically static and uninteresting. However, recent studies have demonstrated that these organisms can be surprisingly complex and dynamic. In this review I detail the most significant recent advances in microsporidian genomics and discuss how these have affected our understanding of many biological aspects of these peculiar eukaryotic intracellular pathogens.

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