Image_1_Relationships Between Fungal and Plant Communities Differ Between Desert and Grassland in a Typical Dryland Region of Northwest China.JPEG

The relationships between soil fungal and plant communities in the dryland have been well documented, yet the associated difference in relationships between soil fungal and plant communities among different habitats remains unclear. Here, we explored the relationships between plant and fungal functional communities, and the dominant factors of these fungal communities in the desert and grassland. Soil fungal functional communities were assessed based on fungal ITS sequence data which were obtained from our previous study. The results showed that the total, saprotrophic and pathotrophic fungal richness were predominantly determined by plant species richness and/or soil nutrients in the desert, but by MAP or soil CN in the grassland. AM fungal richness was only significantly related to soil nutrients in two habitats. The total and saprotrophic fungal species compositions were mainly shaped by abiotic and spatial factors in the desert, but by plant and abiotic factors in the grassland. Pathotrophic fungal species composition was more strongly correlated with plant and spatial factors in the desert, but with spatial and abiotic factors in the grassland. AM fungal species composition was more strongly correlated with MAP in the grassland, but with no factors in the desert. These results provide robust evidence that the relationships between soil fungal and plant communities, and the drivers of soil fungal communities differ between the desert and grassland. Furthermore, we highlight that the linkages between soil fungal and plant communities, and the drivers of soil fungal communities may also be affected by fungal traits (e.g., functional groups).