Drivers of truffle biomass, community composition, and richness among forest types in the northeastern US
Eastern hemlock, Elaphomyces, Fungal diversity, Hypogeous fungi, Mycophagy, Sequestrate fungi, White Mountain National Forest
Truffle-producing fungi (hypogeous sporocarps) are important mycorrhizal symbionts and provide a key food source for many animals, including small mammals. To better understand truffle diversity and associations in the northeastern US, we surveyed for truffles and analyzed spores in eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) scat across hardwood (angiosperm-dominated), softwood (gymnosperm-dominated), and mixed forest at Bartlett Experimental Forest, New Hampshire. Truffle biomass ranged from 3.8 kg/ha in hardwood forest to 31.4 kg/ha in softwood forest and was up to 35 times greater than mushroom (epigeous sporocarp) production in softwood forest. Elaphomyces species were the most common truffle taxa in both field surveys and chipmunk scat. Scat analysis indicated that truffle richness increased over the summer and accurately reflected fruiting time, providing greater resolution of richness than field surveys alone. Basal area of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) was the primary driver of Elaphomyces biomass and was the best explanatory variable of truffle community composition. We discuss implications of hemlock loss, due to the introduced hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae), on forest mycorrhizal communities and food webs.
Stephens, Ryan B., Tyler J. Remick, Mark J. Ducey, and Rebecca J. Rowe. "Drivers of truffle biomass, community composition, and richness among forest types in the northeastern US." Fungal Ecology 29 (2017): 30-41.
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