Major Changes in Soil Fungal Communities Across Soil Horizons and Between Adjacent Forests
Enhancing our knowledge of the processes that shape ecological community structure, and the consequences for ecosystem function, remains a fundamental goal in community ecology. Microorganisms are a key to understanding these processes and as a result, have become a major focus in plant community and ecosystem ecology. Historically, the impact of microorganisms on plant-soil feedbacks has been largely underestimated in ecology. Among soil microorganisms, fungi are known to strongly affect terrestrial ecosystems. The spatial and temporal variability of fungal communities is central to understand plant diversity and functioning of ecosystems because they directly influence plant nutrition and defense. There is an urgent need to move beyond the soil microbial “black-box” to be able to forecast changes in plant and fungal diversity and their consequences for ecosystem processes.