Phylogenetic imprint of woody plants on the soil mycobiome in natural mountain forests of eastern China

December 19th, 2018
By Gitzendanner, Matt

Yang, T., L. Tedersoo, P. S. Soltis, D. E. Soltis, J. A. Gilbert, M. Sun, Y. Shi, H. Wang, Y. Li, J. Zhang, Z. Chen, H. Lin, Y. Zhao, C. Fu, and H. Chu. 2018. Phylogenetic imprint of woody plants on the soil mycobiome in natural mountain forests of eastern China. The ISME Journal. [View on publisher’s site]


Recent studies have detected strong phylogenetic signals in tree–fungus associations for diseased leaves and mycorrhizal symbioses. However, the extent of plant phylogenetic constraints on the free-living soil mycobiome remains unknown, especially at broad geographic scales. Here, 343 soil samples were collected adjacent to individual tree trunks, representing 58 woody plant species located in five mountain forests of eastern China. Integrating plant species identity and phylogenetic information, we aimed to unravel the relative contributions of phylogenetic relationships among tree species, abiotic environmental filtering, and geographic isolation to the geographic distribution of soil mycobiome. We found that the community dissimilarities of total fungi and each dominant guild (viz. saprotrophs, plant pathogens, and ectomycorrhizal fungi) significantly increased with increasing plant phylogenetic distance. Plant phylogenetic eigenvectors explained 11.4% of the variation in community composition, whereas environmental and spatial factors explained 24.1% and 7.2% of the variation, respectively. The communities of ectomycorrhizal fungi and plant pathogens were relatively more strongly affected by plant phylogeny than those of saprotrophs (13.7% and 10.4% vs. 8.5%). Overall, our results demonstrate how plant phylogeny, environment, and geographic space contribute to forest soil fungal distributions and suggest that the influence of plant phylogeny on fungal association may differ by guilds.

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