Analyses of sporocarps, morphotyped ectomycorrhizae, environmental ITS and LSU sequences identify common genera that occur at a periglacial site


Periglacial substrates exposed by retreating glaciers represent extreme and sensitive environments defined by a variety of abiotic stressors that challenge organismal establishment and survival. The simple communities often residing at these sites enable their analyses in depth. We utilized existing data and mined published sporocarp, morphotyped ectomycorrhizae (ECM), as well as environmental sequence data of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and large subunit (LSU) regions of the ribosomal RNA gene to identify taxa that occur at a glacier forefront in the North Cascades Mountains in Washington State in the USA. The discrete data types consistently identified several common and widely distributed genera, perhaps best exemplified by Inocybe and Laccaria. Although we expected low diversity and richness, our environmental sequence data included 37 ITS and 26 LSU operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that likely form ECM. While environmental surveys of metabarcode markers detected large numbers of targeted ECM taxa, both the fruiting body and the morphotype datasets included genera that were undetected in either of the metabarcode datasets. These included hypogeous (Hymenogaster) and epigeous (Lactarius) taxa, some of which may produce large sporocarps but may possess small and/or spatially patchy genets. We highlight the importance of combining various data types to provide a comprehensive view of a fungal community, even in an environment assumed to host communities of low species richness and diversity.

Publication Title

Journal of Fungi