Recurrent fires do not affect the abundance of soil fungi in a frequently burned pine savanna
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd and British Mycological Society While the negative effects of infrequent, high-intensity fire on soil fungal abundance are well-understood, it remains unclear how the short-term history of frequent, low-intensity fire in fire-dependent ecosystems impacts abundance, and whether this history governs any abundance declines. We used prescribed fire to experimentally alter the short-term fire history of patches within a fire-frequented old-growth pine savanna over a 3 y period. We then quantified fungal abundance before and after the final fire using phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) assays and Droplet Digital™ PCR (ddPCR). Short-term fire history largely did not affect total fungal abundance nor pre-to post-fire abundance shifts. While producing similar conclusions, PLFA and ddPCR data were not correlated. In addition to piloting a new method to quantify soil fungal abundance, our findings indicate that, within fire-frequented pine savannas, recurrent fires do not consistently decrease total fungal abundance, and abundance changes are not contingent upon short-term fire history. This suggests that many fungi in fire-dependent ecosystems are fire-tolerant.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Hansen, P., Semenova-Nelsen, T., Platt, W., & Sikes, B. (2019). Recurrent fires do not affect the abundance of soil fungi in a frequently burned pine savanna. Fungal Ecology, 42 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.funeco.2019.07.006