|Peršoh, D; Segert, J; Zigan, A; Rambold, G: Fungal community composition shifts along a leaf degradation gradient in a European beech forest, Plant and Soil, 362, 175–186 (2013), doi:10.1007/s11104-012-1271-y|
The fungal communities in living and decom- 13 posed leaves of European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) were 14 compared to identify the phyllosphere fungi involved in 15 litter decomposition at a site in Bavaria, Germany. 16 Methods New primers were designed to cover a broad 17 range of fungal ribosomal DNA sequence diversity. Fol- 18 lowing ‘environmental PCR’, clone libraries from each 19 of five samples of living leaves (surface-sterilized and 20 untreated), freshly fallen, initially and highly decom- 21 posed leaves, were screened using RFLP fingerprinting. 22 Results Statistical analysis (ANOSIM) revealed that the 23 fungal communities colonizing living (a) and initially 24 decomposed leaves (c) significantly differed between 25 each other and from freshly fallen (b) and highly decom- 26 posed leaves (d). Fungal assemblages of a and d were 27 statistically indistinguishable from each other and from 28 the endophyllous fungal community in living leaves. 29 Conclusions The results showed that endophyllous 30 fungi play a role throughout the whole decomposition 31 process of beech leaf litter. Therefore, clarification of 32 the life cycle of certain endophytic and/or soil fungi may only be achieved by considering both phyllo- 33 sphere and soil habitats.