Signature Wood Modifications that Reveal Decomposer Community History

Dataset

Description

Correlating plant litter decay rates with initial tissue traits (e.g. C, N contents) is



common practice, but in woody litter, predictive relationships are often weak. Variability



in predicting wood decomposition is partially due to territorial competition among fungal



decomposers that, in turn, have a range of nutritional strategies (rot types) and



consequences on residues. Given this biotic influence, researchers are increasingly



using culture-independent tools in an attempt to link variability more directly to



decomposer groups. Our goal was to complement these tools by using certain wood



modifications as 'signatures' that provide more functional information about



decomposer dominance than density loss. Specifically, we used dilute alkali solubility



(DAS; higher for brown rot) and lignin:density loss (L:D; higher for white rot) to infer rot



type (binary) and fungal nutritional mode (gradient), respectively. We first determined



strength of pattern among 29 fungi of known rot type by correlating DAS and L:D with



mass loss in birch and pine. Having shown robust relationships for both techniques



above a density loss threshold, we then demonstrated and resolved two issues



relevant to species consortia and field trials, 1) spatial patchiness creating gravimetric



bias (density bias), and 2) brown rot imprints prior or subsequent to white rot



replacement (legacy effects). Finally, we field-tested our methods in a New Zealand



Pinus radiata plantation in a paired-plot comparison. Overall, results validate these lowcost



techniques that measure the collective histories of decomposer dominance in



wood. The L:D measure also showed clear potential in classifying 'rot type' along a



spectrum rather than as a traditional binary type (brown versus white rot), as it places



the nutritional strategies of wood-degrading fungi on a scale (L:D=0-5, in this case).



These information-rich measures of consequence can provide insight into their



biological causes, strengthening the links between traits, structure, and function during



wood decomposition.
Date made available2015
PublisherData Repository for the University of Minnesota

Cite this

Schilling, J. (Creator) (2015). Signature Wood Modifications that Reveal Decomposer Community History. Data Repository for the University of Minnesota. 10.13020/D66P4P