Consistent trade-offs in fungal trait expression across broad spatial scales
- Download PDF (4.0 MB)
- This publication is available only online.
Fungi are the primary agents of terrestrial decomposition, yet our understanding of fungal biogeography lags far behind that of plants, animals and bacteria. Here, we use a trait-based approach to quantify the niches of 23 species of basidiomycete wood decay fungi from across North America, and explore the linkages among functional trait expression, climate and phylogeny. Our analysis reveals a fundamental trade-off between abiotic stress tolerance and competitive ability, whereby fungi with wide thermal and moisture niches exhibit lower displacement ability. The magnitude of this dominance-tolerance trade-off is partially related to the environmental conditions under which the fungi were collected, with thermal niche traits exhibiting the strongest climate relationships. Nevertheless, moisture and thermal dominance-tolerance patterns exhibited contrasting phylogenetic signals, suggesting that these trends are influenced by a combination of niche sorting along taxonomic lines in tandem with acclimation and adaptation at the level of the individual. Collectively, our work reveals key insight into the life history strategies of saprotrophic fungi, demonstrating consistent trait trade-offs across broad spatial scales.
Maynard, Daniel S.; Bradford, Mark A.; Covey, Kristofer R.; Lindner, Daniel; Glaeser, Jessie; Talbert, Douglas A.; Tinker, Paul Joshua; Walker, Donald M.; Crowther, Thomas W. 2019. Consistent trade-offs in fungal trait expression across broad spatial scales. Nature Microbiology. 9: 243-. 11 p. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-019-0361-5.