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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Nitrogen fertilization reduces diversity and alters community structure of active fungi in boreal ecosystems

  • Author(s): Allison, Steven D.
  • Hanson, China A.
  • Treseder, Kathleen K.
  • et al.

Nitrogen (N) availability is increasing in many ecosystems due to anthropogenic disturbance. We used a nucleotide analog technique and sequencing of ribosomal RNA genes to test whether N fertilization altered active fungal communities in two boreal ecosystems. In decaying litter from a recently burned spruce forest, Shannon diversity decreased significantly with N fertilization, and taxonomic richness declined from 44 to 33 operational taxonornic units (OTUs). III soils from a mature spruce forest, richness also declined with N fertilization, from 67 to 52 OTUs. Fungal community structure in litter differed significantly with N fertilization, primarily because fungi of the order Ceratobasidiales increased in abundance. We observed similar changes in fungal diversity and community structure with starch addition to litter, suggesting that N fertilization may affect fungal communities by altering plant carbon inputs. These changes could have important consequences for ecosystem processes such as decomposition and nutrient mineralization. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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