A strong species-area relationship for eukaryotic soil microbes: Island size matters for ectomycorrhizal fungi

Kabir G. Peay, Thomas D. Bruns, Peter G. Kennedy, Sarah E. Bergemann, Matteo Garbelotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

255 Scopus citations

Abstract

While the effects of habitat size and isolation have been successfully studied for macro-organisms, there is currently debate about their relative importance in explaining patterns of microbial species richness. In this study, we examine the species richness of a dominant group of eukaryotic soil microbes, ectomycorrhizal fungi, on 'tree islands' of constant age and host composition that range in size from < 10 to > 10 000 m2. Our results show that ectomycorrhizal species richness is significantly reduced on smaller and more isolated tree islands, and the species-area slope that we observe (0.20-0.23) is similar to average slopes reported for macro-organisms. Additionally, species' occurrence patterns across tree islands and investment trends in fungal fruit bodies suggest that a trade-off between competition and dispersal could play an important role in structuring ectomycorrhizal assemblages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-480
Number of pages11
JournalEcology letters
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007

Keywords

  • Baas-Becking
  • Biogeography
  • Competition
  • Dispersal
  • Ectomycorrhiza
  • Fungi
  • Microbe
  • Species-area
  • Trade-off

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