Fungi have crucial ecological roles — as microbial saprotrophs, pathogens and mutualists — in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Advances in DNA sequencing have facilitated the ecological exploration of the 'mycobiome' and begun to change our view of fungal taxonomic and functional diversity.
Molecular-based work has shown that fungal communities are more diverse than previously known across a range of spatial scales, from the diversity of local communities to biogeographical differences across continents.
In contrast with earlier ideas, mycobiome studies have suggested that dispersal has an important role in both local community assembly and in generating large-scale biogeographical diversity patterns.
The identification of key functional traits is helping to make predictions about the newly discovered diversity of the mycobiome and decode its role in the health of plants, animals and ecosystems.
Fungi represent a large proportion of the genetic diversity on Earth and fungal activity influences the structure of plant and animal communities, as well as rates of ecosystem processes. Large-scale DNA-sequencing datasets are beginning to reveal the dimensions of fungal biodiversity, which seem to be fundamentally different to bacteria, plants and animals. In this Review, we describe the patterns of fungal biodiversity that have been revealed by molecular-based studies. Furthermore, we consider the evidence that supports the roles of different candidate drivers of fungal diversity at a range of spatial scales, as well as the role of dispersal limitation in maintaining regional endemism and influencing local community assembly. Finally, we discuss the ecological mechanisms that are likely to be responsible for the high heterogeneity that is observed in fungal communities at local scales.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Open Access articles citing this article.
Globally consistent response of plant microbiome diversity across hosts and continents to soil nutrients and herbivores
Nature Communications Open Access 14 June 2023
Microbial Ecology Open Access 22 July 2022
Subscribe to this journal
Receive 12 print issues and online access
$209.00 per year
only $17.42 per issue
Rent or buy this article
Prices vary by article type
Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout
Arnold, A. E., Maynard, Z., Gilbert, G. S., Coley, P. D. & Kursar, T. A. Are tropical fungal endophytes hyperdiverse? Ecol. Lett. 3, 267–274 (2000).
Findley, K. et al. Topographic diversity of fungal and bacterial communities in human skin. Nature 498, 367–370 (2013). The first in-depth NGS study of the human mycobiome, which demonstrates substantial differences between the distribution of bacteria and fungi.
Talbot, J. M. et al. Endemism and functional convergence across the North American soil mycobiome. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 111, 6431–6346 (2014). This study contrasts regional differences in the composition of fungal species with the convergent production of extracellular enzymes, as evidence for high functional redundancy.
Tedersoo, L. et al. Global diversity and geography of soil fungi. Science 346, 1256688 (2014). The first global survey to show strong biogeographical patterns and variable latitudinal diversity gradients in fungi.
Pion, M. et al. Bacterial farming by the fungus Morchella crassipes. Proc. Biol. Sci. 280, 20132242 (2013).
Remy, W., Taylor, T. N., Hass, H. & Kerp, H. Four-hundred-million-year-old vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 91, 11841–11843 (1994).
Floudas, D. et al. The Paleozoic origin of enzymatic lignin decomposition reconstructed from 31 fungal genomes. Science 336, 1715–1719 (2012).
Jones, J. D. & Dangl, J. L. The plant immune system. Nature 444, 323–329 (2006).
Hohl, T. M., Rivera, A. & Pamer, E. G. Immunity to fungi. Curr. Opin. Immunol. 18, 465–472 (2006).
Eastwood, D. C. et al. The plant cell wall-decomposing machinery underlies the functional diversity of forest fungi. Science 333, 762–765 (2011).
Bagchi, R. et al. Pathogens and insect herbivores drive rainforest plant diversity and composition. Nature 506, 85–88 (2014). This paper demonstrates the importance of fungal pathogens in maintaining the diversity of tropical rainforest trees.
Taylor, J. W. & Berbee, M. L. Dating divergences in the Fungal Tree of Life: review and new analyses. Mycologia 98, 838–849 (2006).
Treseder, K. K. & Lennon, J. T. Fungal traits that drive ecosystem dynamics on land. Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev. 79, 243–262 (2015). A study that identifies key functional traits for fungi and shows how they can be correlated with important ecological processes.
Kittelmann, S. et al. Simultaneous amplicon sequencing to explore co-occurrence patterns of bacterial, archaeal and eukaryotic microorganisms in rumen microbial communities. PLoS ONE 8, e47879 (2013).
Herrera, C. M., Canto, A., Pozo, M. I. & Bazaga, P. Inhospitable sweetness: nectar filtering of pollinator-borne inocula leads to impoverished, phylogenetically clustered yeast communities. Proc. Biol. Sci. 277, 747–754 (2009).
Bass, D. et al. Yeast forms dominate fungal diversity in the deep oceans. Proc. Biol. Sci. 274, 3069–3077 (2007).
Zimmerman, N. B. & Vitousek, P. M. Fungal endophyte communities reflect environmental structuring across a Hawaiin landscape. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 109, 13022–13027 (2012).
Boddy, L. Saprotrophic cord-forming fungi: meeting the challenge of heterogeneous environments. Mycologia 91, 13–32 (1999).
Smith, M. L., Bruhn, J. N. & Anderson, J. B. The fungus Armillaria bulbosa is among the largest and oldest living organisms. Nature 356, 428–431 (1992).
Cosgrove, L., McGeechan, P. L., Robson, G. D. & Handley, P. S. Fungal communities associated with degradation of polyester polyurethane in soil. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 73, 5817–5824 (2007).
Peay, K. G. Back to the future: natural history and the way forward in modern fungal ecology. Fungal Ecol. 12, 4–9 (2014).
Prosser, J. I. Dispersing misconceptions and identifying opportunities for the use of 'omics' in soil microbial ecology. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 13, 439–446 (2015).
Richards, T. A., Jones, M. D., Leonard, G. & Bass, D. Marine fungi: their ecology and molecular diversity. Ann. Rev. Mar. Sci. 4, 495–522 (2012).
Qin, J. et al. A human gut microbial gene catalogue established by metagenomic sequencing. Nature 464, 59–65 (2010).
Baldrian, P. et al. Active and total microbial communities in forest soil are largely different and highly stratified during decomposition. ISME J. 6, 248–258 (2012).
Smith, D. & Peay, K. Sequence depth, not PCR replication, improves ecological inference from next-generation DNA sequencing. PLoS ONE 9, e90234 (2014).
de Boer, W., Folman, L. B., Summerbell, R. C. & Boddy, L. Living in a fungal world: impact of fungi on soil bacterial niche development. FEMS Microbiol. Rev. 29, 795–811 (2005).
Bahram, M., Polme, S., Koljalg, U. & Tedersoo, L. A single European aspen (Populus tremula) tree individual may potentially harbour dozens of Cenococcum geophilum ITS genotypes and hundreds of species of ectomycorrhizal fungi. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 75, 313–320 (2011).
Toju, H., Guimaraes, P. R., Olesen, J. M. & Thompson, J. N. Assembly of complex plant–fungus networks. Nat. Commun. 5, 5273 (2014).
Jones, M. D. M. et al. Discovery of novel intermediate forms redefines the fungal tree of life. Nature 474, 200–203 (2011).
Amend, A. S., Barshis, D. J. & Oliver, T. A. Coral-associated marine fungi form novel lineages and heterogeneous assemblages. ISME J. 6, 1291–1301 (2012).
Amend, A. S. From dandruff to deep-sea vents: Malassezia-like fungi are ecologically hyper-diverse. PLoS Pathog. 10, e1004277 (2014).
Ghannoum, M. A. et al. Characterization of the oral fungal microbiome (mycobiome) in healthy individuals. PloS Pathog. 6, e1000713 (2010).
Bisby, G. R. Geographical distribution of fungi. Bot. Rev. 9, 466–482 (1943).
Berkeley, M. J. in the Gardeners' Chronicle & Agricultural Gazette (London, 1863).
Baas-Becking, L. G. M. Geobiologie of inleiding tot de milieukunde (in Dutch) (W. P. van Stockum and Zoon, 1934).
Smith, M. E. et al. The ectomycorrhizal fungal community in a Neotropical forest dominated by the endemic dipterocarp Pakaraimaea dipterocarpacea. PLoS ONE 8, e55160 (2013).
Peay, K. G. et al. Lack of host specificity leads to independent assortment of dipterocarps and ectomycorrhizal fungi across a soil fertility gradient. Ecol. Lett. 18, 807–816 (2015).
Bonito, G. et al. Historical biogeography and diversification of truffles in the Tuberaceae and their newly identified southern hemisphere sister lineage. PLoS ONE 8, e52765 (2013).
Peay, K. G., Schubert, M. G., Nguyen, N. H. & Bruns, T. D. Measuring ectomycorrhizal fungal dispersal: macroecological patterns driven by microscopic propagules. Mol. Ecol. 16, 4122–4136 (2012).
Meiser, A., Balint, M. & Schmitt, I. Meta-analysis of deep-sequenced fungal communities indicates limited taxon sharing between studies and the presence of biogeographic patterns. New Phytol. 201, 623–635 (2014).
Kõljalg, U. et al. Towards a unified paradigm for sequence-based identification of fungi. Mol. Ecol. 22, 5271–5277 (2013).
Grantham, N. S. et al. Fungi identify the geographic origin of dust samples. PLoS ONE 10, e0122605 (2015).
Geml, J. in Biogeography of Microscopic Organisms: Is Everything Small Everywhere? (ed. Fontaneto, D.) (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2011).
Gibbons, S. M. et al. Evidence for a persistent microbial seedbank throughout the global ocean. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 110, 4651–4655 (2013).
Vincenot, L. et al. Extensive gene flow over Europe and possible speciation over Eurasia in the ectomycorrhizal basidiomycete Laccaria amethystina complex. Mol. Ecol. 21, 281–299 (2012).
Davison, J. et al. Global assessment of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus diversity reveals very low endemism. Science 349, 970–973 (2015).
Bruns, T. D. & Taylor, J. W. Comment on “Global assessment of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus diversity reveals very low endemism”. Science 351, 826–826 (2016).
Salgado-Salazar, C., Rossman, A. Y. & Chaverri, P. Not as ubiquitous as we thought: taxonomic crypsis, hidden diversity and cryptic speciation in the cosmopolitan fungus Thelonectria discophora (Nectriaceae, Hypocreales, Ascomycota). PLoS ONE 8, e76737 (2013).
Branco, S. et al. Genetic isolation between two recently diverged populations of a symbiotic fungus. Mol. Ecol. 24, 2747–2758 (2015).
Matheny, P. B. et al. Out of the Palaeotropics? Historical biogeography and diversification of the cosmopolitan ectomycorrhizal mushroom family Inocybaceae. J. Biogeogr. 36, 577–592 (2009).
Sánchez-Ramírez, S., Tulloss, R. E., Amalfi, M., Moncalvo, J. M. & Carine, M. Palaeotropical origins, boreotropical distribution and increased rates of diversification in a clade of edible ectomycorrhizal mushrooms (Amanita section Caesareae). J. Biogeogr. 42, 351–363 (2015).
Moncalvo, J. M. & Buchanan, P. K. Molecular evidence for long distance dispersal across the Southern Hemisphere in the Ganoderma applanatum-australe species complex (Basidiomycota). Mycol. Res. 112, 425–436 (2008).
Murat, C. et al. Polymorphism at the ribosomal DNA ITS and its relation to postglacial re-colonization routes of the Perigord truffle Tuber melanosporum. New Phytol. 164, 401–411 (2004).
Kennedy, P. G., Garibay-Orijel, R., Higgins, L. M. & Angeles-Arguiz, R. Ectomycorrhizal fungi in Mexican Alnus forests support the host co-migration hypothesis and continental-scale patterns in phylogeography. Mycorrhiza 21, 559–568 (2011).
Gaston, K. J. Global patterns in biodiversity. Nature 405, 220–227 (2000).
MacArthur, R. H. & Wilson, E. O. The Theory of Island Biogeography (Princeton Univ. Press, 1967).
Amend, A., Samson, R., Seifert, K. & Bruns, T. Indoor fungal composition is geographically patterned and more diverse in temperate zones than in the tropics. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 107, 13748–13753 (2010).
Gilbert, G. S. & Webb, C. O. Phylogenetic signal in plant pathogen–host range. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 104, 4979–4983 (2007).
Kennedy, P. G., Izzo, A. D. & Bruns, T. D. There is high potential for the formation of common mycorrhizal networks between understorey and canopy trees in a mixed evergreen forest. J. Ecol. 91, 1071–1080 (2003).
Peay, K., Kennedy, P., Davies, S., Tan, S. & Bruns, T. Potential link between plant and fungal distributions in a dipterocarp rainforest: community and phylogenetic structure of tropical ectomycorrhizal fungi across a plant and soil ecotone. New Phytol. 185, 529–542 (2010).
Crowther, T. W. et al. Untangling the fungal niche: the trait-based approach. Front. Microbiol. 5, 579 (2014).
Gilbert, G. S., Reynolds, D. R. & Bethancourt, A. The patchiness of epifoliar fungi in tropical forests: Host range, host abundance, and environment. Ecology 88, 575–581 (2007).
Pellissier, L. et al. Soil fungal communities of grasslands are environmentally structured at a regional scale in the Alps. Mol. Ecol. 23, 4274–4290 (2014).
Lindahl, B. D. et al. Spatial separation of litter decomposition and mycorrhizal nitrogen uptake in a boreal forest. New Phytol. 173, 611–620 (2007).
He, L., Liu, F., Karuppiah, V., Ren, Y. & Li, Z. Comparisons of the fungal and protistan communities among different marine sponge holobionts by pyrosequencing. Microb. Ecol. 67, 951–961 (2014).
Tisthammer, K., Cobian, G. M. & Amend, A. S. Global biogeography of marine fungi is shapted by the environment. Fungal Ecol. 19, 39–46 (2016).
Coince, A. et al. Leaf and root-associated fungal assemblages do not follow similar elevational diversity patterns. PLoS ONE 9, e100668 (2014).
Parrent, J. L., Morris, W. F. & Vilgalys, R. CO2-enrichment and nutrient availability alter ectomycorrhizal fungal communities. Ecology 87, 2278–2287 (2006).
Kennedy, P. G. & Bruns, T. D. Priority effects determine the outcome of ectomycorrhizal competition between two Rhizopogon species colonizing Pinus muricata seedlings. New Phytol. 166, 631–638 (2005).
Fukami, T. et al. Assembly history dictates ecosystem functioning: evidence from wood decomposer communities. Ecol. Lett. 13, 675–684 (2010).
Dickie, I. A., Fukami, T., Wilkie, J. P., Allen, R. B. & Buchanan, P. K. Do assembly history effects attenuate from species to ecosystem properties? A field test with wood inhabiting fungi. Ecol. Lett. 15, 133–141 (2012).
Sterkenburg, E., Bahr, A., Brandström Durling, M., Clemmensen, K. E. & Lindahl, B. D. Changes in fungal communities along a boreal forest soil fertility gradient. New Phytol. 207, 1145–1158 (2015).
Koide, R. T., Fernandez, C. & Malcolm, G. Determining place and process: functional traits of ectomycorrhizal fungi that affect both community structure and ecosystem function. New Phytol. 201, 433–439 (2014).
Lilleskov, E. A., Hobbie, E. A. & Fahey, T. J. Ectomycorrhizal fungal taxa differing in response to nitrogen deposition also differ in pure culture organic nitrogen use and natural abundance of nitrogen isotopes. New Phytol. 154, 219–231 (2002).
Kohler, A. et al. Convergent losses of decay mechanisms and rapid turnover of symbiosis genes in mycorrhizal mutualists. Nat. Genet. 47, 410–415 (2015). This paper illustrates the potential of using comparative genomics to identify the key evolutionary pressures and traits that are associated with fungal guilds.
Ohm, R. A. et al. Diverse lifestyles and strategies of plant pathogenesis encoded in the genomes of eighteen Dothideomycetes fungi. PLoS Pathog. 8, e1003037 (2012).
Riley, R. et al. Extensive sampling of basidiomycete genomes demonstrates inadequacy of the white-rot/brown-rot paradigm for wood decay fungi. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 111, 9923–9928 (2014).
Talbot, J. M., Allison, S. D. & Treseder, K. K. Decomposers in disguise: mycorrhizal fungi as regulators of soil C dynamics in ecosystems under global change. Funct. Ecol. 22, 955–963 (2008).
Lindahl, B. D. & Tunlid, A. Ectomycorrhizal fungi — potential organic matter decomposers, yet not saprotrophs. New Phytol. 205, 1443–1447 (2015).
Rineau, F. et al. Carbon availability triggers the decomposition of plant litter and assimilation of nitrogen by an ectomycorrhizal fungus. ISME J. 7, 2010–2022 (2013).
Talbot, J. & Treseder, K. Controls over mycorrhizal uptake of organic nitrogen. Pedobiologia 53, 169–179 (2010).
Talbot, J. M., Martin, F., Kohler, A., Henrissat, B. & Peay, K. G. Functional guild classification predicts the enzymatic role of fungi in litter and soil biogeochemistry. Soil Biol. Biochem. 88, 441–456 (2015).
Burke, D. J., Smemo, K. A. & Hewins, C. R. Ectomycorrhizal fungi isolated from old-growth northern hardwood forest display variability in extracellular enzyme activity in the presence of plant litter. Soil Biol. Biochem. 68, 219–222 (2014).
Rineau, F. et al. The ectomycorrhizal fungus Paxillus involutus converts organic matter in plant litter using a trimmed brown-rot mechanism involving Fenton chemistry. Environ. Microbiol. 14, 1477–1487 (2012).
Shah, F. et al. Ectomycorrhizal fungi decompose soil organic matter using oxidative mechanisms adapted from saprotrophic ancestors. New Phytol. 209, 1705–1719 (2016).
Arnold, A. E. et al. Fungal endophytes limit pathogen damage in a tropical tree. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 100, 15649–15654 (2003).
Clay, K., Holah, J. & Rudgers, J. A. Herbivores cause a rapid increase in hereditary symbiosis and alter plant community composition. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 102, 12465–12470 (2005).
Marquez, L. M., Redman, R. S., Rodriguez, R. J. & Roossinck, M. J. A virus in a fungus in a plant: three-way symbiosis required for themal tolerance. Science 315, 513–515 (2007).
Busby, P. E. et al. Leaf endophytes and Populus genotype affect severity of damage from the necrotrophic leaf pathogen, Drepanopeziza populi. Ecosphere 4, 1–12 (2013).
Busby, P. E., Peay, K. G. & Newcombe, G. Common foliar fungi of Populus trichocarpa modify Melampsora rust disease severity. New Phytol. 209, 1681–1692 (2015).
Parfitt, D., Hunt, J., Dockrell, D., Rogers, H. J. & Boddy, L. Do all trees carry the seeds of their own destruction? PCR reveals numerous wood decay fungi latently present in sapwood of a wide range of angiosperm trees. Fungal Ecol. 3, 338–346 (2010).
Fukami, T., Bezemer, T. M., Mortimer, S. R. & van der Putten, W. H. Species divergence and trait convergence in experimental plant community assembly. Ecol. Lett. 8, 1283–1290 (2005).
Bodeker, I. T. et al. Ectomycorrhizal Cortinarius species participate in enzymatic oxidation of humus in northern forest ecosystems. New Phytol. 203, 245–256 (2014).
Talbot, J. M. et al. Independent roles of ectomycorrhizal and saprotrophic communities in soil organic matter decomposition. Soil Biol. Biochem. 57, 282–291 (2013).
Moeller, H. V., Peay, K. G. & Fukami, T. Ectomycorrhizal fungal traits reflect environmental conditions along a coastal California edaphic gradient. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 87, 797–806 (2014).
Tedersoo, L., Sadam, A., Zambrano, M., Valencia, R. & Bahram, M. Low diversity and high host preference of ectomycorrhizal fungi in Western Amazonia, a neotropical biodiversity hotspot. ISME J. 4, 465–471 (2010).
Smith, M. E., Henkel, T., Aime, M. C., Fremier, A. K. & Vilgalys, R. Ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity and community structure on three co-occurring leguminous canopy tree species in a Neotropical rainforest. New Phytol. 192, 699–712 (2011).
Strickland, M. S. & Rousk, J. Considering fungal:bacterial dominance in soils — methods, controls, and ecosystem implications. Soil Biol. Biochem. 42, 1385–1395 (2010).
Rousk, J., Brookes, P. C. & Baath, E. Contrasting soil pH effects on fungal and bacterial growth suggest functional redundancy in carbon mineralization. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 75, 1589–1596 (2009).
Peay, K., Dickie, I., Wardle, D., Bellingham, P. & Fukami, T. Rat invasion of islands alters fungal community structure, but not wood decomposition rates. Oikos 122, 258–264 (2012).
Hanson, C. A., Fuhrman, J. A., Horner-Devine, M. C. & Martiny, J. B. Beyond biogeographic patterns: processes shaping the microbial landscape. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 10, 497–506 (2012).
Martiny, J. B. H. et al. Microbial biogeography: putting microorganisms on the map. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 4, 102–112 (2006).
Fierer, N. & Jackson, R. B. The diversity and biogeography of soil bacterial communities. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 103, 626–631 (2006).
Lozupone, C. A. & Knight, R. Global patterns in bacterial diversity. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 104, 11436–11440 (2007).
Rama, T. et al. Fungi ahoy! Diversity on marine wooden substrata in the high North. Fungal Ecol. 8, 46–58 (2014).
Hinchliff, C. E. et al. Synthesis of phylogeny and taxonomy into a comprehensive tree of life. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 112, 12764–12769 (2015).
Costello, E. K. et al. Bacterial community variation in human body habitats across space and time. Science 326, 1694–1697 (2009).
Brown, S. P. & Jumpponen, A. Contrasting primary successional trajectories of fungi and bacteria in retreating glacier soils. Mol. Ecol. 23, 481–497 (2014).
Martiny, J. B. H., Eisen, J. A., Penn, K., Allison, S. D. & Horner-Devine, M. C. Drivers of bacterial β-diversity depend on spatial scale. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 108, 7850–7854 (2011).
Polme, S. et al. Biogeography of ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with alders (Alnus spp.) in relation to biotic and abiotic variables at the global scale. New Phytol. 198, 1239–1249 (2013).
Polme, S., Bahram, M., Koljalg, U. & Tedersoo, L. Global biogeography of Alnus-associated Frankia actinobacteria. New Phytol. 204, 979–988 (2014).
Schoch, C. L. et al. Nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region as a universal DNA barcode marker for fungi. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 109, 6241–6246 (2012).
Hawksworth, D. The fungal dimension of biodiversity — magnitude, significance and conservation. Mycol. Res. 95, 641–655 (1991).
Taylor, D. L. et al. A first comprehensive census of fungi in soil reveals both hyperdiversity and fine-scale niche partitionning. Ecol. Monographs 84, 3–20 (2014).
May, R. A fondness for fungi. Nature 352, 475–476 (1991).
Prober, S. M. et al. Plant diversity predicts beta but not alpha diversity of soil microbes across grasslands worldwide. Ecol. Lett. 18, 85–95 (2015).
Fisher, M. C. et al. Emerging fungal threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health. Nature 484, 186–194 (2012).
Cui, L., Morris, A. & Ghedin, E. The human mycobiome in health and disease. Genome Med. 5, 63 (2013).
Huffnagle, G. B. & Noverr, M. C. The emerging world of the fungal microbiome. Trends Microbiol. 21, 334–341 (2013).
Dowd, S. E. et al. Survey of fungi and yeast in polymicrobial infections in chronic wounds. J. Wound Care 20, 40–47 (2011).
Nguyen, L. D. N., Viscogliosi, E. & Delhaes, L. The lung mycobiome: an emerging field of the human respiratory microbiome. Front. Microbiol. 6, 89 (2015).
Yafetto, L. et al. The fastest flights in nature: high speed spore discharge mechanisms among fungi. PLoS ONE 3, e3237 (2008).
Ingold, C. T. Fungal Spores: Their Liberation and Dispersal (Clarendon, 1971).
Norros, V., Penttilä, R., Suominen, M. & Ovaskainen, O. Dispersal may limit the occurrence of specialist wood decay fungi already at small spatial scales. Oikos 121, 961–974 (2012).
Peay, K. G. & Bruns, T. D. Spore dispersal of basidiomycete fungi at the landscape scale is driven by stochastic and deterministic processes and generates variability in plant–fungal interactions. New Phytol. 204, 180–191 (2014).
Brown, J. K. M. & Hovmoller, M. S. Aerial dispersal of pathogens on the global and continental scales and its impact on plant disease. Science 297, 537–541 (2002).
This manuscript was greatly improved by comments from A. Amend, B. Lindahl, N. Fierer, K. Treseder, J. Martiny and L. Tedersoo. K.G.P. received financial support from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Environmental Biology (DEB; grants 1249341 and 1249342).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
- Next-generation sequencing
(NGS). A set of DNA-sequencing platforms (including those produced by 454 and Illumina) that have increased sequencing output and decreased cost by orders of magnitude compared with Sanger sequencing.
A group of organisms that consists of an ancestor and all of its descendants. Monophyly is the basis for modern taxonomy.
Organisms that rely on the uptake of dissolved organic compounds for their primary nutrition.
A polymer of N-acetylglucosamine that is an important component of fungal cell walls.
One of the major phyla of the fungal kingdom, which includes some of the most dominant fungal species in natural systems and many key ectomycorrhizal and wood-decomposing taxa. Most fungal species that produce prominent mushrooms are from the Basidiomycota.
- Mycorrhizal fungi
Fungi that are in symbiotic associations with plant roots, based on the exchange of photosynthates for soil nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous.
- Endophytic fungi
Fungi that live asymptomatically inside plant tissue.
- Ectomycorrhizal fungi
Fungi engaged in a common form of mycorrhizal symbiosis that is characterized anatomically by fungal hyphae that wholly enclose the fine roots of the host. Ectomycorrhizal fungi evolved from several different lineages and many retain the decomposing abilities of their saprotrophic ancestors.
One of the major phyla of the fungal kingdom. Some of the most dominant fungi in natural systems are found in this phylum, including many agriculturally important pathogens and most fungi that form lichen.
A group of plant pathogens that are obligate biotrophs characterized by complex life cycles that involve several plant hosts. Rusts infect many agriculturally important crops, such as coffee, soybean and wheat, producing reddish-brown spores that give infected hosts the appearance of being rusty.
The phylum to which all arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi belong.
- Ericoid mycorrhizal fungi
Fungi in a mycorrhizal symbiosis with certain members of the plant family Ericaceae that is characterized by the penetration of hair root cells and the formation of hyphal coils. Ericoid mycorrhizal fungi include diverse species from the Basidiomycota and Ascomycota phyla.
Arising from Gondwana, the supercontinent that broke up approximately 180 million years ago and included parts of present day South America, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica.
In ecology, a very wide geographical distribution, often across several continents. Cosmopolitan taxa frequently traverse large dispersal barriers, such as oceans or mountains.
In ecology, a restricted geographical distribution. Endemism can occur at a range of spatial scales, from a single lake or mountainside, to a continent.
An organism that obtains nutrition from dead organic matter.
- Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
Fungi in arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis with a plant host, which is the most common form of mycorrhizal symbiosis and is characterized by fungal hyphae that penetrate plant cell walls, where they form highly branched structures known as arbuscules. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi belong to a single monopyhyletic lineage and evolved with the earliest land plants.
Pertaining to the patterns of geographical distribution of phylogenetic lineages.
An area of land that includes parts of present day Russia and Alaska and that formed a bridge connecting Asia and North America during the lower sea levels of the Pleistocene glacial periods.
The sum of evaporation from the surface of the earth and plant transpiration.
- Historical contingency
When the current state of an ecological community depends on the precise sequence of prior events. Historical contingency is contrasted with determinism, in which a single end state will occur regardless of past events.
Any biological unit that is capable of propagating an organism in a new location. For fungi this may include sexual and asexual spores, as well as hyphal fragments.
- Forest stands
A contiguous area of forest in which a characteristic species composition and demography enables it to be distinguished from other areas of forest.
Groups of species that use similar ecological strategies to exploit a common resource. Species are grouped into guilds irrespective of whether they are taxonomically related.
- White rot
Historic classification of certain wood-decomposing fungi. The classification is based on the white colour of the wood that is generated by the enrichment of cellulose that occurs when powerful oxidative enzymes that are produced by these fungi breakdown lignin.
- Brown rot
Historic classification of certain wood-decomposing fungi. The classification is based on the brown colour of the wood that is generated by the ability of these fungi to extract polysaccharides while leaving behind lignin.
About this article
Cite this article
Peay, K., Kennedy, P. & Talbot, J. Dimensions of biodiversity in the Earth mycobiome. Nat Rev Microbiol 14, 434–447 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro.2016.59
This article is cited by
Globally consistent response of plant microbiome diversity across hosts and continents to soil nutrients and herbivores
Nature Communications (2023)
Conservation tillage increases surface soil organic carbon stock by altering fungal communities and enzyme activity
Environmental Science and Pollution Research (2023)
Plant and fungal species interactions differ between aboveground and belowground habitats in mountain forests of eastern China
Science China Life Sciences (2023)
Microbial Ecology (2023)
Fungal Patterns from Soils in Madagascar: an Insight from Maromizaha Forest (Evergreen Humid Forest) to Outside (Deciduous Forest)
Microbial Ecology (2023)