In the present study, quantitative and qualitative micromycete characteristics, such as number of colony-forming units (CFU), species composition, species richness, diversity level, and dominant groups of species, were examined both in space and over time on the slopes and valley bottom of the "Evolution Canyon" (EC) microsite at Lower Nahal Oren, Mt. Carmel, Israel. A total of 166 micromycete species belonging to Deuteromycotina (142), Ascomycotina (9), and Zygomycotina (15) were isolated. More species were found on the south-facing slope (SFS) than on the north-facing slope (NFS) and the valley bottom (VB); the SFS fungal community was also characterized by a higher level of diversity (Shannon index, evenness). The greatest intra- and interslope differences were found comparing sunny open niches with shady niches under trees on the SFS: the dominance of Fusarium species and frequent occurrence of dark-colored micromycetes characterized sunny soils; Penicillium species dominated the micromycete community in shady soils (as well as in soils of NFS). Micromycete quantity showed great spatiotemporal variations, from 10,700 to 281,000 CFU per gram dry soil. The most pronounced differences were observed on SFS and in the VB in autumn, between sunny and shady niches (4-10-fold difference). The results demonstrated a clear effect of edaphic and climatic conditions both on the spatial distribution of micromycete quantity and on the micromycete species composition.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to express our thanks to the Ministry of Absorption (Shapiro Foundation) for financial support of this research and to Dr. A. Beiles for his help with statistical analysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Plant Science