Redundancy among mammalian fungal dispersers and the importance of declining specialists

Nuske, S.J., Vernes, K., May, T.W., Claridge, A.W., Congdon, B.C., Krockenberger, A., and Abell, S.E. (2017) Redundancy among mammalian fungal dispersers and the importance of declining specialists. Fungal Ecology, 27. pp. 1-13.

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Abstract

Hypogeous sequestrate (truffle-like) fungi rely primarily on consumption by mammals for dispersal. Most truffle-like fungi are ectomycorrhizal, making mammalian dispersers essential to the maintenance of plant-fungal relationships, soil fungal diversity and ecosystem functioning. Australia has the highest current global rate of mammalian extinctions, including important fungal specialists within the family Potoroidae. Knowing the relative importance of different mammal species as dispersers helps us to understand how this loss in mammal diversity could affect plant-fungi interactions and fungal diversity. Despite detecting a sampling bias in the literature, our meta-analysis confirms that mammals with fungal specialist diets contribute disproportionally more to the potential dispersal of fungi than other mammals within Australia. Three mammal species with generalist diets also consumed fungi at comparable rates to fungal specialist species and, importantly, persist in many areas where fungal specialists are now absent. These results highlight the significance of mammals, particularly fungal specialists, for maintaining diverse ectomycorrhizal fungal communities

Item ID: 47994
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1878-0083
Keywords: diet; Ectomycorrhizae; functional redundancy; fungal generalist; mycophagy; potoroidae; sequestrate fungi; spore; truffle-like fungi; rat-kangaroo
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 2 of the following PhD thesis: Nuske, Susan Joy (2017) The importance of declining mammalian fungal specialists for ectomycorrhizal fungal dispersal. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Australian Postgraduate Award, Australian Government Caring for our Country 2 (CFOC)
Projects and Grants: CFOC Target Area Grant Project ID: TAG14-00542 2013/14
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2017 05:51
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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