The conservation biology of fungi
Wolfe, Benjamin E. , Pringle, Anne .
The role of ectomycorrhizal fungi in biological invasions.
While many studies have examined the movement and spread of plants into novel ranges, little is known about the invasion biology of root-associated ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi. EM fungi can 1) respond to the invasion of introduced plants, 2) facilitate the invasion of plants into novel ranges and 3) be introduced and spread in novel ranges. We highlight all three scenarios with case studies from our own work and from the literature, and consider implications for the conservation of fungal communities. First, several studies have demonstrated that when plants invade novel environments, the abundance and composition of EM fungi can change in response to the novel plant species. For example, the introduced plant Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) can decrease the abundance and cause shifts in the composition of EM fungal communities in North America. Second, the range expansion of EM dependent plants is commonly facilitated by the availability of EM symbionts. This has been repeatedly illustrated when EM-dependent Pinus species invade ecosystems dominated by arbuscular mycorrhizal plants. These EM fungal-mediated invasions of plants cause changes in the composition of native communities. Third, many species of EM fungi have been moved to novel ranges where they can remain with introduced hosts or spread to novel hosts. For example, the EM fungus Amanita phalloides was introduced to North America from Europe. In California, A. phalloides can dominate the EM community and associate with a variety of native hosts in relatively undisturbed forests. Understanding the invasion biology of EM fungi provides an opportunity to develop a global view on EM community ecology and the conservation biology of fungi.
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Benjamin Wolfe-Pringle Lab Website
1 - Harvard University, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, 16 Divinity Ave, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Ballroom 3/Cliff Lodge - Level B
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 2:45 PM