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    Author(s): Laurel A. Kluber; Jane E. Smith; David D. Myrold
    Date: 2011
    Source: Soil Biology & Biochemistry. 43: 1042-1050
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (966.83 KB)


    The distinct rhizomorphic mats formed by ectomycorrhizal Piloderma fungi are common features of the organic soil horizons of coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest. These mats have been found to cover 25-40% of the forest floor in some Douglas-fir stands, and are associated with physical and biochemical properties that distinguish them from the surrounding non-mat soils. In this study, we examined the fungal and bacterial communities associated with Piloderma mat and non-mat soils. Each mat and non-mat area was repeatedly sampled at four times throughout the year. Characterization of the mat activity and community was achieved using a combination of N-acetylglucosaminidase (NAGase) enzyme assays, and molecular analysis of fungal and bacterial communities using T-RFLP profiles, clone libraries, and quantitative PCR. Piloderma mats had consistently greater NAGase activity across all dates, although the magnitude of the difference varied by season. Furthermore, we found distinct fungal and bacterial communities associated with the Piloderma mats, yet the size of the microbial populations differed little between the mat and non-mat soils. Significant temporal variation was seen in the NAGase activity and in the sizes of the fungal and bacterial populations, but the community composition remained stable through time. Our results demonstrate the presence of two distinct microbial communities occupying the forest floor of Douglas-fir stands, whose populations and activities fluctuate seasonally but with little change in composition, which appears to be related to the physiochemical nature of mat and non-mat habitats.

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    Kluber, Laurel A.; Smith, Jane E.; Myrold, David D. 2011. Distinctive fungal and bacterial communities are associated with mats formed by ectomycorrhizal fungi. Soil Biology & Biochemistry. 43: 1042-1050.


    ectomycorrhizae, NAGase, forest soil, Piloderma, ectomycorrhizal mats, microbial communities

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