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A group of ectomycorrhizal fungi restricts organic matter accumulation in boreal forest
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  • Björn Lindahl,
  • Julia Kyaschenko,
  • Kerstin Varenius,
  • Karina Clemmensen,
  • Anders Dahlberg,
  • Erik Karltun,
  • Johan Stendahl
Björn Lindahl
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
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Julia Kyaschenko
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
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Kerstin Varenius
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
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Karina Clemmensen
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
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Anders Dahlberg
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
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Erik Karltun
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
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Johan Stendahl
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
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Abstract

Boreal forests soils are important global carbon sinks, with significant storage in the organic topsoil. Decomposition of these stocks requires oxidative enzymes, uniquely produced by fungi, of which many live in ectomycorrhizal symbiosis with the trees. Here we show that presence of a group of closely related species of ectomycorrhizal fungi – Cortinarius acutus s.l. – decreased local carbon storage in the organic topsoil by 33% across Swedish forests. Our findings challenge the prevailing view that ectomycorrhizal fungi generally act to increase carbon storage in soils and show that certain ectomycorrhizal fungi can complement free-living decomposers, maintaining nutrient cycling and tree productivity under nutrient poor conditions. The finding that a narrow group of fungi exerts a major influence on carbon cycling refutes the prevailing dogma of functional redundancy among microbial decomposers. Cortinarius acutus s.l. responds negatively to forestry, and population declines are likely to increase soil carbon sequestration while impeding nutrient cycling.

Peer review status:Published

02 Nov 2020Submitted to Ecology Letters
03 Nov 2020Submission Checks Completed
03 Nov 2020Assigned to Editor
06 Nov 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
01 Dec 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
15 Dec 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Major
25 Jan 20211st Revision Received
27 Jan 2021Assigned to Editor
27 Jan 2021Submission Checks Completed
28 Jan 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
10 Feb 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
15 Feb 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
19 Feb 20212nd Revision Received
19 Feb 2021Assigned to Editor
19 Feb 2021Submission Checks Completed
19 Feb 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
20 Feb 2021Editorial Decision: Accept
02 May 2021Published in Ecology Letters. 10.1111/ele.13746