Title

Recurrent fires do not affect the abundance of soil fungi in a frequently burned pine savanna

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1-2019

Abstract

© 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)

Fungal Ecology

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