We examined the spatiotemporal structure of culturable mycobiota in terra rossa soil of the Israeli part of Mount Hermon, along an altitudinal gradient from 1310 to 1720 m. A total of 155 species representing 65 genera was isolated using the soil dilution plate method. Soil microfungal communities from the studied area are characterized by: (i) the dominance of Penicillium species in sites under canopies; (ii) the prevalence of melanized microfungi in vegetation-free sites, and (iii) a lower heterogeneity and evenness of microfungal communities under canopies due to the overdominance of Penicillium simplicissimum. Abundance of melanized fungi correlated with seasonal abiotic extremes (high solar radiation, high soil temperatures - about 40°C - and low soil moisture - about 4.5% - in summer, and low temperature - about 0°C - in water-saturated soil under snow cover in winter). The effects of altitude on both community structure and diversity characteristics were smaller than the variation found between open sites and sites under tree cover at the same altitude. These findings support the idea that edaphic micro-environmental parameters, such as soil moisture, temperature, and organic matter content, may affect diversity of soil microfungal communities to a higher extent than macroenvironmental (climatic) factors.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was partly funded Ministry of Absorption and the Research Foundation for Genetics Evolution.
- Altitudinal gradient
- community structure
- ecological contrast
- soil microfungi
- spatiotemporal distribution
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science