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Basidiomycete decay fungi within stems of Nothofagus windfalls in a Southern Hemisphere beech forest

Beets, P.N., Gardner, J.F., Kimberley, M.O., Power, M.W.P., Ramsfield, T.D., Hood, I.A.
Canadian journal of forest research = 2008 v.38 no.7 pp. 1897-1910
Basidiomycota, decay fungi, colonizing ability, coarse woody debris, Nothofagus fusca, Nothofagus menziesii, forest trees, stems, Armillaria, fruiting bodies, spatial distribution, population structure, New Zealand
Fungi were isolated to determine the predominant decomposer species active in the coarse woody debris in a beech forest in the central North Island of New Zealand. Basidiomycetes were obtained in 55% of 4569 isolation attempts from discs cut from six trees each of Nothofagus fusca (Hook. F.) Oerst. and Nothofagus menziesii (Hook. F.) Oerst. uprooted during a storm 24years earlier. Percentage yields varied significantly among trees but not between tree species. However, for N. fusca, basidiomycetes were obtained less frequently from stems of greater mean diameter. In total, 96% of basidiomycete isolates were composed of 18 species, the most abundant being Armillaria novae-zelandiae (G. Stev.) Herink, mainly present in the outer 12cm, and Ganoderma cf. applanatum sensu Wakef. and Cyclomyces tabacinus (Mont.) Pat., which penetrated more deeply. These fungi were distributed along the stems as somatically incompatible colonies reaching lengths of 11, 2, and 3m for each species, respectively; those of G. cf. applanatum were separated by brown pseudosclerotial plates. Fruiting of these species was significantly associated with isolation of cultures and, for applanatum and C. tabacinus, provided a reliable guide to stem colonization. Basidiomycete diversity in the Nothofagus stems was greater than in two podocarp species in an earlier study. Data from this investigation are being used to assess how decay fungi, together with other factors, influence rates of decomposition of indigenous coarse woody debris.