Forests and Fungal Communities

Research Issue

Composite photo - from top left A. Biomass harvesting research plot, Idaho Panhandle National Forest;  B. Thin section of Tubulicrinis subulatus crust fungi on wood; at bottom left C. Microscopy of Botryosphaeria canker on horse chestnut; D. SEM of Amphimena byssoides mycorrhiza on charred wood.Forest fungi are incredibly diverse in genetic makeup and physical appearance and they fill a wide range of roles in the ecosystem.

Our Research

We use microscopic and molecular identification techniques to identify fungi. We use many different methods and approaches to study the relationships between fungal communities and their forest. Projects include:

  • Analysis of above-ground and below-ground fungal communities associated with biomass harvesting and biofuels production in the Western United States. This research investigates the effects of different forest management practices and soil amendments.    
  • Analysis of soil fungal communities at forest plantations in a semi-humid, continental monsoon climate in China. This research identifies wood-stake inhabiting soil fungi through next generation high-throughput genetic sequencing. 
  • Analysis of wood decomposition by white and brown rot fungi. This research uses thin sectioning, staining, light microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) to identify the types and extent of wood decay. 
  • Education and outreach about fungal forest pathogens at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Because of a recent decline in the number of forest pathologists worldwide, our scientists make a special effort to pass on their knowledge of fungi and the roles of fungi in forests to the next generation of forest managers. 

Expected Outcomes

These studies increase knowledge of fungal communities in forest ecosystems around the world with the ultimate goal of making forestry and forest restoration more sustainable and successful. Our research on the effects of biomass harvesting on fungal communities and dead wood material supports harvesting guidelines. We make our data on vouchered fungal specimens available to scientists around the world and scientists of the future through online DNA sequence databases like GenBank. Our research on wood decay fungi provides useful information for forest managers who need to understand humus, organic matter, and nutrient availability under different climatic conditions. Our wood-block microcosm studies show wood decay patterns under controlled conditions, allowing us to tease out complex relationships between fungi, trees and other forest organisms.

Research Results

Nakasone, Karen K.; Draeger, Kymberly R.; Ortiz-Santana, Beatriz 2017. A Contribution to the Taxonomy of Rhizochaete (Polyporales, Basidiomycota). Cryptogamie, Mycologie. 38(1): 81-99.

Brazee, Nicholas J.; Lindner, Daniel L.; Fraver, Shawn; D'Amato, Anthony W.; Milo, Amy M. 2012. Wood-inhabiting, polyporoid fungi in aspen-dominated forests managed for biomass in the U.S. Lake States. Fungal Ecology. 5: 600-609.

Lindner, Daniel L.; Vasaitis, Rimvydas; Kubartova, Ariana; Allmer, Johan; Johannesson, Hanna; Banik, Mark T.; Stenlid, Jan. 2011. Initial fungal colonizer affects mass loss and fungal community development in Picea abies logs 6 yr after inoculation. Fungal Ecology. 4: 449-460.

Lindner, Daniel L; Burdsall, Harold H.; Stanosz, Glen R. 2006. Species diversity of polyporoid and corticioid fungi in northern hardwood forests with differing management histories. Mycologia. Vol. 98, no. 2 (2006): pages 195-217.

Maynard, Daniel S.; Bradford, Mark A.; Lindner, Daniel L.; van Diepen, Linda T. A.; Frey, Serita D.; Glaeser, Jessie A.; Crowther, Thomas W. 2017. Diversity begets diversity in competition for space. Nature Ecology & Evolution

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

  • Kymberly R. Draeger, US Forest Service - Volunteer
  • Daniel L. Lindner, US Forest Service Northern Research Station, Research Plant Pathologist
  • Glen R. Stanosz, University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Karen Nakasone, US Forest Service Northern Research Station, Research Botanist (retired)

Research Partners

  • Last modified: September 11, 2018