Trait‐based approaches reveal fungal adaptations to nutrient‐limiting conditions

Tessa Camenzind, Anika Lehmann, Janet Ahland, Stephanie Rumpel, Matthias C. Rillig, Universitätsbibliothek Der FU Berlin
The dependency of microbial activity on nutrient availability in soil is only partly understood, but highly relevant for nutrient cycling dynamics. In order to achieve more insight on microbial adaptations to nutrient limiting conditions, precise physiological knowledge is needed. Therefore, we developed an experimental system assessing traits of 16 saprobic fungal isolates in nitrogen (N) limited conditions. We tested the hypotheses that (1) fungal traits are negatively affected by N
more » ... to a similar extent and (2) fungal isolates respond in a phylogenetically conserved fashion. Indeed, mycelial density, spore production and fungal activity (respiration and enzymatic activity) responded similarly to limiting conditions by an overall linear decrease. By contrast, mycelial extension and hyphal elongation peaked at lowest N supply (C:N 200), causing maximal biomass production at intermediate N contents. Optimal N supply rates differed among isolates, but only the extent of growth reduction was phylogenetically conserved. In conclusion, growth responses appeared as a switch from explorative growth in low nutrient conditions to exploitative growth in nutrient‐rich patches, as also supported by responses to phosphorus and carbon limitations. This detailed trait‐based pattern will not only improve fungal growth models, but also may facilitate interpretations of microbial responses observed in field studies.
doi:10.17169/refubium-27840 fatcat:m4c4vhvph5e3bbh7bfy7sbukaa