You are here

Harvard Forest >

Harvard Forest REU Symposium Abstract 2021

  • Title: Characterizing the Response Levels of Fungal Taxa to Global Change Drivers
  • Author: Jennie E Wuest (Fordham University)
  • Abstract:

    Human activity in the last several centuries has resulted in a number of global change stressors which have had effects on global ecosystem compositions and activities. Anthropogenic activity has resulted in the increase of atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition, rising global atmospheric temperature, and non-native species invasion. Previous studies at Harvard Forest have examined the alteration of fungal community composition in response to non-native species invasion on its own, as well as alongside abiotic factors occurring as a result of anthropogenic activity such as simulated N deposition and soil warming; however, an effort to look across datasets has not yet been completed. The aim of this study was to investigate and characterize the response levels of individual fungal taxa to environmental change drivers across the last decade of studies on soil warming, soil N enrichment, and garlic mustard and hemlock woolly adelgid invasion at Harvard Forest. Using datasets containing fungal operational taxonomic units (OTUs) identified from soil samples from sites receiving individual and combined treatments of N fertilization, soil warming, and non-native species invasion, Indicator Species Analysis was performed to test for OTUs that had statistically significant elevated frequencies in one or more of the treatments. Cohen’s d was calculated as a measure of effect size, i.e., the change in OTU relative abundance from control and experimental treatments. We found that indicator species with strong positive effect sizes varied by treatment type; for example, the treatment with the highest level of nitrogen fertilization had the largest number of indicator species. In terms of the study focusing on hemlock woolly adelgid invasion, we found fifteen taxa that showed strong positive responses to both moderate and severe invasion. In addition, twenty taxa were found to be statistically significant indicator species for multiple treatments. These results are significant because fungi serve as important ecosystem regulators, and understanding their responses to future climatic conditions can help us prepare a response to that change.

  • Research Category: Biodiversity Studies; Group Projects; Invasive Plants, Pests & Pathogens; Physiological Ecology, Population Dynamics, and Species Interactions