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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Genomics and Bioinformatics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #341231

Research Project: Genomics and Bioinformatics Research in Agriculturally Important Organisms

Location: Genomics and Bioinformatics Research

Title: Patterns and drivers of fungal community depth stratification in Sphagnum peat

item LAMIT, L - Michigan Technological University
item ROMANOWICZ, K - University Of Michigan
item POTVIN, L - Forestry Sciences Laboratory
item Rivers, Adam
item SINGH, K - Joint Genome Institute
item LENNON, J - Indiana University
item TRINGE, S - Joint Genome Institute
item KANE, E - Michigan Technological University
item LILLESKOV, E - Michigan Technological University

Submitted to: FEMS Microbiology Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2017
Publication Date: 6/30/2017
Publication URL:
Citation: Lamit, L.J., Romanowicz, K.J., Potvin, L.R., Rivers, A.R., Singh, K., Lennon, J.T., Tringe, S., Kane, E.S., Lilleskov, E.A. 2017. Patterns and drivers of fungal community depth stratification in Sphagnum peat. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. https://doi: 10.1093/femsec/fix082.

Interpretive Summary: Much of the artic and subartic is covered with peat bogs which hold one third of the world’s organic carbon. A loss of water, through drought, climate change or draining could stimulate fungi to consume the organic carbon release large amounts of carbon dioxide, worsening global warming. This study identified what types of fungi increased when natural peat was drained.

Technical Abstract: Peatlands store an immense pool of soil carbon vulnerable to microbial oxidation due to drought and intentional draining. We used amplicon sequencing and quantitative PCR to 1) examine how fungi are influenced by depth in the peat profile, water table (WT) and plant functional group (PFG) at the onset of a multi-year mesocosm experiment, and 2) test if fungi are correlated with abiotic variables of peat and pore water. We hypothesized that each factor influenced fungi, but that depth would have the strongest effect early in the experiment. We found that: 1) communities were strongly depth stratified; fungi were four-times more abundant in the upper (10-20 cm) than the lower (30-40 cm) depth, and dominance shifted from ericoid mycorrhizal fungi to saprotrophs and endophytes with increasing depth; 2) the influence of PFG was depth-dependent, with Ericaceae important in structuring the community in the upper peat only; 3) WT had minor influences; and 4) communities strongly covaried with abiotic variables, including indices of peat and pore water carbon quality. Our results highlight the importance of vertical stratification to peatland fungi, and the depth-dependency of PFG effects, which must be considered when elucidating the role of fungi in peatland carbon dynamics.