Substrate affinities of wood decay fungi are foremost structured by wood properties not climate

Fredrik Rustoen, Klaus Hoiland, Einar Heegaard, Lynne Boddy, Alan Gange, Havard Kauserud, Carrie Andrew

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Wood decomposing fungi differ in their substrate affinities, but to what extent factors like wood properties influence host specialization, compared to climate, is largely unknown. In this study, we analysed British field observations of 61 common wood decay species associated with 41 tree and shrub genera. While white rot fungi ranged from low-to high-substrate affinity, brown rot fungi were exclusively mid-to high-affinity. White rot fungi associated with dead fallen wood demonstrated the least substrate affinity. The composition of wood decomposer fungi was mostly structured by substrate properties, sorted between angiosperms and conifers. Any relationships with temporal and regional climate variability were of far less significance, but did predict community-based and substrate-usage host shifts, especially for fungi on fallen deadwood. Our results demonstrate that substrate shifts by wood-decay fungi will depend primarily upon their degree of affinity to, and the distribution of, related woody genera, followed less at regional levels by climate impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101231
JournalFungal Ecology
Early online date17 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • affinity
  • climate
  • decay
  • reproductive traits
  • specialization
  • substrate usage
  • wood

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