The fire-related variations in culturable microfungal communities in the soil of the Mount Carmel forest, Israel, were examined by comparing the communities from burned and adjacent unburned soil plots under pine and oak trees – collected 6, 18, and 26 months after the fire. A total of 82 species representing 44 genera were isolated using the soil dilution plate method. The results showed that the fire had strongly influenced the composition and structure of microfungal communities. The fire remarkably changed physical and chemical properties of the environment, decreasing water holding capacity, organic matter and total nitrogen content in the burned soil. These changes supported abundant development of fast-growing mycoparasitic species (Clonostachys rosea and Trichoderma spp.) and caused significant decrease in species richness. The variations in community composition were much more expressed in the burned soils under oak vegetation as compared with the pine trees. In the oak burned soils, the contribution of the “mesic” component, Penicillium spp., was markedly lower, whereas the contribution of the “xeric”, stress-selected component, melanin-containing species, was higher than in the unburned communities. Such variations can be also considered as a community response to the fire-related decrease in water and nutrient content in the burned soils.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research is funded by the Carmel Research Center of University of Haifa and the Israeli Ministry of Absorption.
© 2014 Società Botanica Italiana.
- Burned soil
- community composition
- soil microfungi
- unburned soil
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science