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Species-specific effects of soil fauna on fungal foraging and decomposition

Crowther, Thomas, Boddy, Lynne ORCID: and Jones, Thomas Hefin ORCID: 2011. Species-specific effects of soil fauna on fungal foraging and decomposition. Oecologia 167 (2) , pp. 535-545. 10.1007/s00442-011-2005-1

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Decomposer fungi are primary decomposing agents in terrestrial soils. Their mycelial networks play an important role in nutrient mineralisation and distribution, but are also nutritious resources for various soil invertebrates. Global climate change is predicted to alter the diversity and community composition of these soil fauna. To understand whether changes in invertebrate species diversity are likely to affect fungal-mediated decomposition, this study compared the grazing potentials of different invertebrate taxa and functional groups. Specifically, the grazing impacts of seven invertebrate taxa on the growth and spatial distribution of six basidiomycete fungi growing from beech wood blocks in soil microcosms were explored. Wood decay rates by fungi were also compared. The consequences of grazing were both taxon- and species-specific. Generally, macro-invertebrates caused the greatest damage, while meso- and micro-invertebrates often stimulated mycelial growth. Invertebrate size, preferences and population dynamics are likely to influence grazing potentials. Effects of grazing varied between fungi, with mycelial morphology and biochemistry possibly influencing susceptibility. Heavy grazing indirectly increased fungal-mediated wood decomposition. Changes in invertebrate community composition are predicted to have consequences for fungal growth, activity and community structure in woodland soils. Abiotic climate change factors including CO2 and temperature affect mycelial productivity directly, but the indirect effects, mediated through changes in the soil invertebrate community, may be equally important in controlling ecosystem functioning.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: soil invertebrates; decomposer fungi; nutrient distribution; grazing; microbial community
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0029-8549
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 08:36

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