Data_Sheet_3_Fungal Community Development in Decomposing Fine Deadwood Is Largely Affected by Microclimate.PDF
Fine woody debris (FWD) represents the majority of the deadwood stock in managed forests and serves as an important biodiversity hotspot and refuge for many organisms, including deadwood fungi. Wood decomposition in forests, representing an important input of nutrients into forest soils, is mainly driven by fungal communities that undergo continuous changes during deadwood decomposition. However, while the assembly processes of fungal communities in long-lasting coarse woody debris have been repeatedly explored, similar information for the more ephemeral habitat of fine deadwood is missing. Here, we followed the fate of FWD of Fagus sylvatica and Abies alba in a Central European forest to describe the assembly and diversity patterns of fungal communities over 6 years. Importantly, the effect of microclimate on deadwood properties and fungal communities was addressed by comparing FWD decomposition in closed forests and under open canopies because the large surface-to-volume ratio of FWD makes it highly sensitive to temperature and moisture fluctuations. Indeed, fungal biomass increases and pH decreases were significantly higher in FWD under closed canopy in the initial stages of decomposition indicating higher fungal activity and hence decay processes. The assembly patterns of the fungal community were strongly affected by both tree species and microclimatic conditions. The communities in the open/closed canopies and in each tree species were different throughout the whole succession with only limited convergence in time in terms of both species and ecological guild composition. Decomposition under the open canopy was characterized by high sample-to-sample variability, showing the diversification of fungal resources. Tree species-specific fungi were detected among the abundant species mostly during the initial decomposition, whereas fungi associated with certain canopy cover treatments were present evenly during decomposition. The species diversity of forest stands and the variability in microclimatic conditions both promote the diversity of fine woody debris fungi in a forest.