Tradeoffs in hyphal traits determine mycelium architecture in saprobic fungi
Anika Lehmann, Weishuang Zheng, Katharina Soutschek, Julien Roy, Andrey M. Yurkov, Matthias C. Rillig, Universitätsbibliothek Der FU Berlin, Universitätsbibliothek Der FU Berlin
The fungal mycelium represents the essence of the fungal lifestyle, and understanding how a mycelium is constructed is of fundamental importance in fungal biology and ecology. Previous studies have examined initial developmental patterns or focused on a few strains, often mutants of model species, and frequently grown under non-harmonized growth conditions; these factors currently collectively hamper systematic insights into rules of mycelium architecture. To address this, we here use a broader suite of fungi (31 species including members of the Ascomycota, Basidiomycota and Mucoromycota), all isolated from the same soil, and tested for ten architectural traits under standardized laboratory conditions. We find great variability in traits among the saprobic fungal species, and detect several clear tradeoffs in mycelial architecture, for example between internodal length and hyphal diameter. Within the constraints so identified, we document otherwise great versatility in mycelium architecture in this set of fungi, and there was no evidence of trait 'syndromes' as might be expected. Our results point to an important dimension of fungal properties with likely consequences for coexistence within local communities, as well as for functional complementarity (e.g. decomposition, soil aggregation).
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