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Succession of Ectomycorrhizae on paper birch and Douglas-fir

Similar forests of different ages have been found to support distinct ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal communities. Thus far, we know of no studies that examine the differences in ECM communities on more than one host tree species in a stand. Paper birch and Douglas-fir are important early- to late-successional species in the Interior Cedar Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone in British Columbia. We are using a chronosequence of forests at ages from 5 to 105 years since stand initiation to examine the EMC communities on paper birch and Douglas- fir. This will allow us to determine when  the ectomycorrhizal fungal community shifts from a ‘clearcut’ community to a ‘forest’ community. The study is designed also to compare young stands that have been replanted after clearcutting vs. after wildfire. Our results will also allow us to be able to evaluate the probability of common mycelial networks between birch and Douglas-fir at different successional stages.

FAME - Succession_of_Ectomycorrhizae

Unresolved Questions

  • Does ECM community composition shift with the four main ecological aboveground successional stages of these forests?
  • Are certain ECM fungal groups absent in younger forests?
  • Do the numbers and proportions of ECM fungi common to both tree hosts change over time?
  • Which site factors are most closely correlated with these phenomena?
  • Does clearcutting result in the same pattern of early-ECM succession as wildfire?

This is the thesis work of Brendan TwiegKevin Beiler will investigate the structure of common mycelial networks at these sites.  Denise Brooks is examining the functional biodiversity of ectomycorrhizal fungi and associated bacteria at these sites.  Collaborators are Suzanne Simard and Sue Grayston.

Last reviewed shim4/8/2015 12:31:37 PM