Soil translocation at “Evolution Canyon” I (Mount Carmel, Israel) reveals the importance of microclimatic variation for structuring soil microfungal communities

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An experimental study involving the translocation of soil from the south-facing, tropical, savannoid, “African” slope (AS) to the north-facing, temperate, forested “European” slope (ES), 250 m apart, and vice versa, was performed at “Evolution Canyon”, Mount Carmel, Israel. The purpose of the study was to explore whether the new microclimatic conditions would affect community structure of culturable fungi. The translocation of soil from the AS to the ES significantly decreased the abundance of xeric and thermotolerant components of microfungal communities – melanin-containing fungi and Aspergillus spp. Simultaneously, the mesic component – Penicillium spp, increased in the abundance. The translocation also caused substantial increases in abundance of fast-growing mycoparasitic Clonostachys rosea and Trichoderma koningii, which are known to produce toxic secondary metabolites and grow over other fungi in culture. High abundance of these species apparently caused the significant decrease in species richness in the AS-to-ES translocated communities and made these communities more similar to the native ES communities as the cluster analysis revealed. Notably, the translocation from the xeric south-facing AS to the temperate north-facing ES caused more substantial changes in the microfungal communities as compared to the opposite soil translocation. The results of the study clearly indicated that translocation of the soil to the opposite slopes of “Evolution Canyon” had changed the community structure of microfungal communities, and these changes were apparently driven by variation in environmental conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-14
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author thanks the Israeli Ministry of Absorption for financial support of this research. She is also grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier GmbH


  • Contrasting biomes
  • Diversity
  • Microfungal communities
  • Soil translocation
  • Spatial variations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Soil Science


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