Soil fungi of virgin and restored tallgrass prairies in central Iowa

Shearer, Judy
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Four hundred eighty-three species of soil inhabiting fungi were identified from virgin and restored prairie soils in central Iowa. Many of the principal fungi in tallgrass prairie soils have been reported as principal taxa of other grassland ecosystems in North America and on other continents. The fungal community of tallgrass prairie soils in Iowa is most similar to fungal communities of mesic prairies in Wisconsin and grasslands in Ohio;The soil fungal communities of virgin and restored prairie soils are distinctly different. The numbers of species isolated were nearly equal, but composition, frequency, and density of the principal taxa were different. Past agricultural disturbance was a major contributing factor to differences between the fungi of the two communities;Early spring burning had little effect on composition, frequency, or density of fungi in prairie soil. Numbers of species declined slightly in postburn samples but increased to preburn levels by fall of the same year;Nearly two-thirds of the principal taxa isolated from tallgrass prairie soils showed little response to seasonal changes. Frequencies and densities of the principal taxa remained relatively constant between preburn and postburn collections throughout the growing season;Vescicular arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungi are a common component of the mycoflora of tallgrass prairie soil. Sixteen species in four genera were present in the prairie soils sampled. The numbers of VAM spores fluctuated widely in samples from different sampling sites and at different times from the same site. Because of this, effects of burning or seasonal variations could not be evaluated.

Botany, Botany (Mycology), Mycology