Fungal communities are structured across time and space by abiotic and biotic factors. We use amplicon-based genetic sequencing techniques to identify unculturable and culturable fungi in airborne spore assemblages across a vegetation mosaic and over the course of a rainy season in coastal California, USA. We found that the assemblages of fungal species varied over time, but with little spatial structure associated with habitat types. For airborne spores collected from different vegetation types, we also measured physical traits that may be important for survival, dispersal, or response to environmental change. We found larger and more elongated spores in dry and structurally open, shrub-like vegetation (chaparral) compared to smaller and rounder spores in wet and structurally closed vegetation (forests). Fungi in chaparral possess spore traits that allow them to persist and disperse in harsh, dry, open conditions. These results are useful for forest and land managers who are interested in restoring habitats with native plant species that are associated with a range of fungal symbionts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Ecological Modeling
- Plant Science