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Fungal Ecology: Principles and Mechanisms of Colonization and Competition by Saprotrophic Fungi

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  • Authors: Lynne Boddy1, Jennifer Hiscox2
  • Editors: Joseph Heitman3, Pedro W. Crous4
  • VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AX, United Kingdom; 2: School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AX, United Kingdom; 3: Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710; 4: CBS-KNAW Fungal Diversity Centre, Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0019-2016
  • Received 29 June 2016 Accepted 08 September 2016 Published 18 November 2016
  • Lynne Boddy, boddyl@cf.ac.uk
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  • Abstract:

    Decomposer fungi continually deplete the organic resources they inhabit, so successful colonization of new resources is a crucial part of their ecology. Colonization success can be split into (i) the ability to arrive at, gain entry into, and establish within a resource and (ii) the ability to persist within the resource until reproduction and dissemination. Fungi vary in their life history strategies, the three main drivers of which are stress (S-selected), disturbance (ruderal, or R-selected), and incidence of competitors (C-selected); however, fungi often have combinations of characteristics from different strategies. Arrival at a new resource may occur as spores or mycelium, with successful entry and establishment (primary resource capture) within the resource largely dependent on the enzymatic ability of the fungus. The communities that develop in a newly available resource depend on environmental conditions and, in particular, the levels of abiotic stress present (e.g., high temperature, low water availability). Community change occurs when these initial colonizers are replaced by species that are either more combative (secondary resource capture) or better able to tolerate conditions within the resource, either through changing abiotic conditions or due to modification of the resource by the initial colonizers. Competition for territory may involve highly specialized species-specific interactions such as mycoparasitism or may be more general; in both cases combat involves changes in morphology, metabolism, and reactive oxygen species production, and outcomes of these interactions can be altered under different environmental conditions. In summary, community development is not a simple ordered sequence, but a complex ever-changing mosaic.

  • Citation: Boddy L, Hiscox J. 2016. Fungal Ecology: Principles and Mechanisms of Colonization and Competition by Saprotrophic Fungi. Microbiol Spectrum 4(6):FUNK-0019-2016. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0019-2016.

Key Concept Ranking

Reactive Oxygen Species
0.40391323
0.40391323

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/content/journal/microbiolspec/10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0019-2016
2016-11-18
2017-05-01

Abstract:

Decomposer fungi continually deplete the organic resources they inhabit, so successful colonization of new resources is a crucial part of their ecology. Colonization success can be split into (i) the ability to arrive at, gain entry into, and establish within a resource and (ii) the ability to persist within the resource until reproduction and dissemination. Fungi vary in their life history strategies, the three main drivers of which are stress (S-selected), disturbance (ruderal, or R-selected), and incidence of competitors (C-selected); however, fungi often have combinations of characteristics from different strategies. Arrival at a new resource may occur as spores or mycelium, with successful entry and establishment (primary resource capture) within the resource largely dependent on the enzymatic ability of the fungus. The communities that develop in a newly available resource depend on environmental conditions and, in particular, the levels of abiotic stress present (e.g., high temperature, low water availability). Community change occurs when these initial colonizers are replaced by species that are either more combative (secondary resource capture) or better able to tolerate conditions within the resource, either through changing abiotic conditions or due to modification of the resource by the initial colonizers. Competition for territory may involve highly specialized species-specific interactions such as mycoparasitism or may be more general; in both cases combat involves changes in morphology, metabolism, and reactive oxygen species production, and outcomes of these interactions can be altered under different environmental conditions. In summary, community development is not a simple ordered sequence, but a complex ever-changing mosaic.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1
FIGURE 1

How R-C-S characteristics relate to r-K strategies.

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0019-2016
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Image of FIGURE 2
FIGURE 2

Foraging strategies of cord-forming basidiomycetes growing out of precolonized beech wood blocks across compacted soil. , a short-range forager, produces highly dense hyphae and mycelia. is a longer-range forager with a more open cord system. has an even more open system than , with thicker cords.

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0019-2016
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Image of FIGURE 3
FIGURE 3

Sectioned beech trunk showing decay columns running longitudinally through the wood. Arrows indicate dark zone lines (pseudosclerotial plates) surrounding different decay columns.

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0019-2016
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Image of FIGURE 4
FIGURE 4

Fungal community development pathways in woody resources. Newly available wood (top) becomes progressively colonized, initially through primary resource capture in an open community stage where there is still unoccupied territory, until all territory becomes occupied, resulting in a closed community where further colonization occurs as secondary resource capture. As the community moves from open to closed, combat becomes the driving force for change. Finally, communities in well-decayed wood are characterized by substrate modification and invasion by soil invertebrates. The ecological characteristics of the dominant organisms are indicated in boxes: R, ruderal; C, combative; S, stress-tolerant. Driving forces are indicated in italic, and direction of community change is indicated by arrows. The community may be driven toward the left by stress aggravation or to the right by stress alleviation, although destructive disturbance will drive the community toward species with R-selected characteristics. (Adapted from references 5 and 58 .)

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0019-2016
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Image of FIGURE 5
FIGURE 5

Interspecific interactions of fungi growing in natural and artificial media. Cross section of a decaying beech branch with dark zone lines (pseudosclerotial plates) surrounding competing mycelia. Growth of when exposed to the diffusible organic compounds (DOCs) from uncolonized malt broth (control) or DOCs from . cord systems growing across compacted soil when exposed to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from uncolonized soil (control) or VOCs from growing across soil . Interaction between and cord systems across compacted soil. Accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) at the interaction zone between (left) and (left) on 2% malt agar (MA). ROS are stained purple using nitro blue tetrazolium (methods in reference 92 ). Three-way interaction between mycelia of (left), (center), and (right) growing on 2% malt agar (MA). cords are beginning to encroach over the mycelium, while itself is overgrown by cords. A thick barrage separates the mycelia of and , with a distinct orange/yellow band of pigment deposited in the agar at the regions of contact between the two mycelia.

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0019-2016
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Tables

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TABLE 1

Characteristics defining the life history strategies of ruderal, combative, and stress-tolerant species

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0019-2016
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TABLE 2

Secondary metabolite production during antagonistic interactions

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0019-2016
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TABLE 3

Extracellular enzyme production during antagonistic interactions

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0019-2016

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