Host diversity and trophic status as determinants of speciesrichness and community composition of fungus gnats

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2015
Authors:Põldmaa, K., Jürgenstein, S., Bahram, M., Teder, T., Kurina O.
Journal:Basic and applied ecology
Start Page:46
Date Published:04.02.

2014AbstractMaking generalisations on trophic interactions is often limited because studies mostly focus on only a few target systems.Despite the important role of fungivores in forest ecosystems, the determinants of their communities are poorly known. Thisstudy examined, for the first time, on the basis of quantitative data, the diversity of fungivorous insects in relation to that oftheir hosts. Variation in range, species richness and community composition of associated partners was compared among fungusgnats (Diptera: Mycetophilidae, Bolitophilidae) and their mushroom hosts (Basidiomycota: Agaricomycetes) using rarefactionprocedures and permutational analysis of variance. DNA barcoding aided identification of fungus gnat species. In the studiedboreal forests, 80% of the 100 fungal species and 74% of 460 fruitbodies were colonised by fungus gnats. Each infestedmushroom species hosted 1 to 12 gnat species, with 37 gnat species reared from 1 to 41 fungal species. Mushroom and fungusgnat species were both associated with three partner species at median. While most of the common gnat species could beconsidered oligo- or polyphagous, this study showed that earlier works have erroneously categorised some ubiquitous species aspolyphagous in the absence of quantitative data. Species richness of fungus gnats and mushrooms correlated strongly at the levelof host genera. Regarding partners community composition, analysing frequencies of associations between all pairs of partnerspecies revealed no significant differences among fungus gnats but distinguished between the saprotrophic and ectomycorrhizalmushroom genera. Our results provide empirical evidence to substantiate a recent hypothesis that fungal trophic status affects,via fruitbody characteristics, the community structure of associated organisms. Presented evidence suggests oligophages withhost preference to prevail among mushroom-feeding fungus gnats, thereby distinguishing these from many other studied insectguilds, largely composed of broad generalists and strict specialists.

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