J Plant Ecol ›› 2009, Vol. 2 ›› Issue (4): 217-224.DOI: 10.1093/jpe/rtp028

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Species richness and species composition of fungal communities associated with cellulose decomposition at different altitudes on the Tibetan Plateau

Dai Hirose1,*, Takashi Shirouzu2, Mitsuru Hirota3, Toshiyuki Ohtsuka4, Yukiko Senga5, Mingyuan Du6, Ayako Shimono7 and Xianzhou Zhang8   

  1. 1 College of Pharmacy, Nihon University, Funabashi, Chiba 274-8555, Japan; 2 Fungus/Mushroom Resource andResearch Center, Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori University, Koyama, Tottori 680-0945, Japan; 3 Graduate School of Life and Environmental Science, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8572, Japan; 4 Institute of Basin Ecosystem Study, Gifu University, Gifu 501-1193, Japan; 5 Faculty of Geo-Environmental Science, Rissho University, Kumagaya, Saitama 360-0194, Japan; 6 Agro-Meteorology Division, National Institute for Agro-Environmental Science, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8604, Japan; 7 Environmental Biology Division, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8506, Japan; 8 Lhasa Agro-ecological Experimental Station, Chinese Academy of Science, Lhasa, China
  • Published:2009-11-30
  • Contact: Hirose, Dai

Abstract: Aims The aims of this study were to compare the fungal communities developing on cotton strips at three different altitudes on the Tibetan Plateau and to assess the environmental variables influencing them.
Methods Cotton strips that had been buried in soil for a year were sampled at three sites at different altitudes (4500, 4950 and 5200 m) located on a southeast-facing slope on the Nyainqentanglha Mountains near Damxung. The fungi on the cotton strips were isolated using a modified washing method. The decomposition abilities and colony growth properties of the major species cultured in pure-culture conditions were investigated and compared. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) was used to evaluate the relationships between fungal community composition and environmental variables (altitude, soil depth, soil water content [SWC], plant root mass and gravel content).
Important findings A total of 24 species were isolated from the cotton strips, and 12 species occurred frequently and were regarded as major species. The number of fungal species was lower at the 4950-m altitude site than at the other two sites, indicating that not only altitude but also other factors affected the number of species present. All of the major species were able to decompose the cotton strips. In the CCA ordination, automatic forward selection revealed that altitude, SWC and plant root mass significantly affected fungal species composition. Our results suggest that species number and the composition of cellulolytic fungal communities are highly correlated with environmental variables as well as altitude in the alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau.

Key words: fungal community, altitude, alpine, Tibetan Plateau, cellulose

摘要:
Aims The aims of this study were to compare the fungal communities developing on cotton strips at three different altitudes on the Tibetan Plateau and to assess the environmental variables influencing them.
Methods Cotton strips that had been buried in soil for a year were sampled at three sites at different altitudes (4500, 4950 and 5200 m) located on a southeast-facing slope on the Nyainqentanglha Mountains near Damxung. The fungi on the cotton strips were isolated using a modified washing method. The decomposition abilities and colony growth properties of the major species cultured in pure-culture conditions were investigated and compared. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) was used to evaluate the relationships between fungal community composition and environmental variables (altitude, soil depth, soil water content [SWC], plant root mass and gravel content).
Important findings A total of 24 species were isolated from the cotton strips, and 12 species occurred frequently and were regarded as major species. The number of fungal species was lower at the 4950-m altitude site than at the other two sites, indicating that not only altitude but also other factors affected the number of species present. All of the major species were able to decompose the cotton strips. In the CCA ordination, automatic forward selection revealed that altitude, SWC and plant root mass significantly affected fungal species composition. Our results suggest that species number and the composition of cellulolytic fungal communities are highly correlated with environmental variables as well as altitude in the alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau.