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Altitudinal distribution of microfungi associated with Betula ermanii leaf litter on Mt. Rishiri, northern Japan

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The altitudinal distribution of microfungi associated with Betula ermanii Cham. leaf litter was investigated on Mt. Rishiri (1719 m), northern Japan. Fallen leaves were collected at five sites of different altitudes (appoximately 300, 600, 900, 1200, and 1500 m above sea level) along a transect on the northern slope of Mt. Rishiri. A total of 35 species were isolated from Betula leaf litter of which 12 occurred frequently and were regarded as dominant microfungi. Species richness, diversity, and equitability of microfungal assemblages were lower at Site 1500 than at the other sites. Similarities in species composition were relatively high among Sites 300, 600, and 900, but similarities between these sites and sites at the higher altitudes (i.e., Sites 1200 and 1500) were relatively low. Similarity of species composition was relatively low between Sites 1200 and 1500. Cluster analysis showed that the 12 major microfungal species were classified into four groups according to their pattern of altitudinal distribution that peaked at Sites 600, 900, 1200, and 1500, respectively. These results suggest that the diversity and species composition of Betula microfungi are sensitive to environmental changes along the altitudinal transect on Mt. Rishiri, and this is especially so at the altitudes higher than approximately 1200 m. This implies that future environmental changes will have impacts on mountainous ecosystems through the changes in diversity and functional aspects of microfungal assemblages.

La distribution altitudinale des micromycètes associés à la litière de feuilles de Betula ermanii Cham. a été examinée au Mt. Rishiri (1719 m), situé au nord du Japon. Les feuilles tombées ont été recueillies à cinq sites d’altitudes différentes (environ 300, 600, 900, 1200 et 1500 m au-dessus du niveau de la mer) le long d’un transect du versant nord du Mt. Rishiri. Un total de 35 espèces ont été isolées de la litière de feuilles de Betula, parmi lesquelles 12 étaient fréquentes et furent considérées comme espèces dominantes de micromycètes. La richesse et la diversité des espèces ainsi que l’équitabilité de l’assemblage des micromycètes étaient plus faibles au site 1500 qu’aux autres sites. Les similarités dans la composition en espèces étaient relativement hautes entre les sites 300, 600 et 900, mais les similarités entre ces sites et les sites de plus haute altitude (c.-à-d. sites 1200 et 1500) étaient relativement faibles. La similarité de composition d’espèce était relativement basse entre les sites 1200 et 1500. Une analyse de cluster a montré que les 12 espèces principales de micromycètes étaient classées en quatre groupes selon leur patron de distribution altitudinale, culminant aux sites 600, 900, 1200 et 1500 respectivement. Ces résultats suggèrent que la diversité et la composition des espèces de micromycètes trouvés sur Betula sont sensibles aux changements environnementaux le long du transect altitudinal du Mt. Rishiri, et que ceci est particulièrement le cas à des altitudes plus élevées que 1200 m environ. Ceci implique que les changements environnementaux futurs auront des impacts sur les écosystèmes montagneux à travers des changements dans la diversité et les aspects fonctionnels des assemblages de micromycètes.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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