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The diversity of fungi in four Irish forest types

O'Hanlon, R.. 2011. University of Limerick, PhD


Sampling of the macrofungal sporocarps, ectomycorrhizal morphotypes and vascular plants was carried out in 28 plots from four forest types (ash, oak, Scot's pine, Sitka spruce) between the years 2007 and 2009. A total of 409 macrofungal species, 51 ectomycorrhizal morphotypes and 68 vascular plant species were recorded over the three years. It was found that atequal sampling intensities, there were no significant differences in total macrofungal species or ectomycorrhizal morphotype richness between the oak, Scot's pine and Sitka spruce forest types. Species richness estimation revealed that between 45 and 77% of the above-ground macrofungal species richness and between 57 and 100% of the below-ground ectomycorrhizal morphotype richness were recorded. Cortinarius, Mycena, Russula, Lactariusand Inocybewere the most species-rich genera recorded. Forty-eight macrofungal species are new records to Ireland and five of the species recorded are on the British Red-Data List. Based on sporocarp frequency over the three year's sampling, distinctive macrofungal communities were distinguished using nonmetric multi-dimension scaling, which corresponded to the dominant tree type of the forest. Ash forests lacked the ectomycorrhizal species component, oak forests had many wood- and litter-decay species present, Scot's pine forests had some specific Lactarius species present (e.g. L. rufus, L. hepaticus) and Sitka spruce forests had a large diversity of Mycenaspecies. The below-ground ectomycorrhizal communities were surveyed in soil cores taken from four plots from each of three of the forest types. The ectomycorrhizal communities of the forest types (oak, Scot's pine and Sitka spruce) were distinctly different according to the dominant tree species of the plot. The use of mantle descriptions, RFLP and sequencingmethods allowed for the identification of 36 ectomycorrhizal species. The morphology and anatomy of remaining 15 morphotypes is described. The ability of plantation forests to provide a supplementary habitat for native fungal species richness and diversity is discussed.