Community assembly of ectomycorrhizal fungi along a subtropical secondary forest succession

Cheng Gao, Yu Zhang, Nan-Nan Shi, Yong Zheng, Liang Chen, Tesfaye Wubet, Helge Bruelheide, Sabine Both, François Buscot, Qiong Ding, Alexandra Erfmeier, Peter Kühn, Karin Nadrowski, Thomas Scholten, Liang-Dong Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


Environmental selection and dispersal limitation are two of the primary processes structuring biotic communities in ecosystems, but little is known about these processes in shaping soil microbial communities during secondary forest succession. We examined the communities of ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi in young, intermediate and old forests in a Chinese subtropical ecosystem, using 454 pyrosequencing. The EM fungal community consisted of 393 operational taxonomic units (OTUs), belonging to 21 EM fungal lineages, in which three EM fungal lineages and 11 EM fungal OTUs showed significantly biased occurrence among the young, intermediate and old forests. The EM fungal community was structured by environmental selection and dispersal limitation in old forest, but only by environmental selection in young, intermediate, and whole forests. Furthermore, the EM fungal community was affected by different factors in the different forest successional stages, and the importance of these factors in structuring EM fungal community dramatically decreased along the secondary forest succession series. This study suggests that different assembly mechanisms operate on the EM fungal community at different stages in secondary subtropical forest succession.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-785
Number of pages15
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number2
Early online date9 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Date of Aceptance: 08/08/2014

© 2014 The Authors New Phytologist © 2014 New Phytologist Trust.

Funded by: This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China Grants (nos. 30930005, 31210103910 and 31470545) and the German Science Foundation (DFG FOR 891/1 and 2).

Acknowledgements: We thank Prof. Bernhard Schmid and Dr Martin Baruffol from the University of Zurich for providing the plant basal area information.


  • 454 pyrosequencing
  • dispersal limitation
  • ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungal community
  • ITS2
  • plant community
  • subtropical secondary forest succession


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