Main content area

Intraspecific diversity affects stress response and the ecological performance of a cosmopolitan aquatic fungus

Duarte, Sofia, Antunes, Bruno, Trabulo, José, Seena, Sahadevan, Cássio, Fernanda, Pascoal, Cláudia
Fungal ecology 2019 v.41 pp. 218-223
aquatic fungi, cadmium, detritus, ecosystem services, invertebrates, leaves, organic matter, plant litter, reproduction, saprophytes, streams, stress response
Fungi play an important role in organic matter turnover and ensure key ecosystem services in freshwaters. The relationships between intraspecific fungal diversity and key ecological processes remain largely unknown. We examined the effects of intraspecific diversity of Articulospora tetracladia, a cosmopolitan fungal decomposer thriving on plant detritus in streams. Alder leaves were inoculated with 1 or mixtures of 2–8 fungal strains for 35 d, and leaf litter decomposition and fungal reproduction were quantified in the presence and absence of 2 mg L−1 of cadmium (Cd), a common stressor in polluted streams. Intraspecific diversity and identity affected fungal reproduction, but not leaf decomposition. Under metal stress, leaf decomposition slightly increased with intraspecific diversity. Fungal reproduction increased with intraspecific diversity and was greater in mixed assemblages, either in the absence or presence of Cd. Effect size of intraspecific diversity was higher under Cd stress for fungal reproduction, but no differences were found for leaf mass loss, with or without metal. The impacts of intraspecific diversity loss may jeopardize fungal survival and fungal functions, namely microbial leaf decomposition and leaf litter condition for invertebrate shredders in streams, particularly under metal stress.