The conservation and regeneration of native Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) woodlands is being actively encouraged by conservation agencies in the UK because of their high biodiversity value. In the present study, the consequences of regeneration on terrestrial fungal communities was determined in three parallel transects running from open moorland, through an intermediate zone showing seedling colonization, into a mature Scots pine forest at Abernethy Forest, Cairngorm, Scotland. Soil cores were taken at 18 m intervals along each 180 m transect, and the diversity of the soil fungal community was investigated by DGGE and sequence analysis of ITS fragments PCR-amplified from DNA extracted from soil. Analysis of DGGE profiles generated for two of the three transects indicates a clear shift in the community from the moorland region of the transects to the forest region. Whereas a few bands were present at all sampling points across the transects, the majority of bands were unique to either the moorland or forest samples. FASTA database searches of ITS sequence data generated from excised DGGE bands revealed the closest species match for each band. In some cases, the similarity of ITS sequences to database sequences was poor, but the remaining sequences were most closely related to ITS sequences of both mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal fungi. The data are discussed in relation to the effect of native pine woodland expansion on the soil fungal community.
This work was funded by The Macaulay Development Trust as part of The Macaulay Institute/University of Aberdeen Soil Health Initiative. C.D.C. is funded by the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department. The authors gratefully acknowledge the scientific cooperation of SNH and RSPB at Abernethy Nature Reserve and I. J. Alexander and S.J.Chapman for useful discussion.
- RIBOSOMAL-RNA GENES
- HYMENOSCYPHUS-ERICAE AGGREGATE
- ECTOMYCORRHIZAL MYCELIUM
- COMMUNITY COMPOSITION
- 18S RDNA