Vertical divergence of microfungal communities in soil profiles of "Evolution Canyon" I, Lower Nahal Oren, Mount Carmel, Israel

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In the present study, species composition, the contribution of major groupings to community structure, and diversity level (species richness, heterogeneity, and evenness) were examined in their distribution in a soil depth of 0-43 cm in two opposite slopes at "Evolution Canyon" I, Nahal Oren, Mount Carmel, Israel. A total of 90 species from 35 genera belonging to Zygomycota (2 species), teleomorphic Ascomycota (12), and anamorphic Ascomycota (76) were isolated. In the soil profile of the xeric "African" south-facing slope (AS), melanin-containing fungi and teleomorphic species remarkably decreased their abundance with depth, while Penicillium spp. and Aspergillus spp. increased their contribution to the community structure. These variations were accompanied by a decrease in heterogeneity and evenness of the microfungal communities. In contrast, on the mesic "European" north-facing slope (ES), a sharp decrease in abundance of penicilli was observed with soil depth, followed by increasing diversity level of the communities. The variations in community structure through soil profiles were associated with variations in edaphic conditions (increasing soil moisture) together with escape from solar radiation on the AS and a decrease of organic matter content on the ES.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Biosystems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Israeli Ministry of Absorption and the Ancell-Teicher Research Foundation for Genetics and Molecular Evolution for financial support.


  • Biodiversity
  • Community structure
  • Microfungi
  • Soil profile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


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