Biological soil crusts are essential components of arid ecosystems. We examined the variations in microfungal communities inhabiting different biological crust types in the vicinity of the Shapotou Research Station in the Tengger Desert, China. A total of 134 species from 66 genera were isolated using the soil dilution plate method. The mycobiota of the crusts from the Tengger Desert, similar to that of the Negev Desert in Israel, was dominated by melanin-containing species with large multicellular spores. Abundance of these xeric species increased spatially with increasing xeric conditions from moss-dominated to cyanobacterial crusts. Density of microfungal isolates displayed the opposite trend and was positively correlated with chlorophyll content, indicating the possible significant influence of organic matter content and wetness duration on fungal biomass. Within a chronosequence of the localities of different periods after sand stabilization with revegetation, little variations were revealed in species composition and isolate density of the crust microfungal communities, while a tendency towards a decrease in the community diversity level with the crust age was noted Microfungal communities from stabilized localities differed from those of the natural localities in abundance of the dominant and some frequent species, and in the fluctuations of diversity characteristics between the cyanobacterial and moss-dominated crusts. The variations in mycobiotic parameters in the soil crusts of the Tengger Desert were apparently associated with the topographically induced variations in abiotic conditions, while the differences in microfungal community of soil crusts between the Tengger and Negev deserts, such as the significantly higher abundance of thermotolerant species in the crusts of the Tengger Deserts, were caused by the principal differences in their precipitation regimes, associated with different rainy seasons, winter and summer in the Negev and Tengger deserts, respectively.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the Chinese Academy of Sciences Visiting Professorship for Senior International Scientists (No. 2011T1Z16) and the Israeli Ministry of Absorption for financial support of this research.
© 2015 Soil Science Society of China.
- Chlorophyll content
- Community structure
- Fungal diversity
- Precipitation regimes
- Sand stabilization
- Wetness duration
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Soil Science