What can intraspecific trait variability tell us about fungal communities and adaptations?

  • Analyses of species functional traits are suitable to better understand the coexistence of species in a given environment. Trait information can be applied to investigate diversity patterns along environmental gradients and subsequently to predict and mitigate threats associated with climate change and land use. Species traits are used to calculate community trait means, which can be related to environmental gradients. However, while species traits can provide insights into the mechanisms underlying community assembly, they can lead to erroneous inferences if mean trait values are used. An alternative is to incorporate intraspecific trait variability (ITV) into calculating the community trait means. This approach gains increasing acceptance in plant studies. For macrofungi, functional traits have recently been applied to examine their community ecology but, to our knowledge, ITV has yet to be incorporated within the framework of community trait means. Here, we present a conceptual summary of the use of ITV to investigate the community ecology of macrofungi, including the underlying ecological theory. Inferences regarding community trait means with or without the inclusion of ITV along environmental gradients are compared. Finally, an existing study is reconsidered to highlight the variety of possible outcomes when ITV is considered. We hope this Opinion will increase awareness of the potential for within-species trait variability and its importance for statistical inferences, interpretations, and predictions of the mechanisms structuring communities of macro- and other fungi.

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Author:Franz-Sebastian KrahORCiD, Claus BässlerORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Mycological progress
Place of publication:Berlin ; Heidelberg
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/07/05
Date of first Publication:2021/07/05
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/10/20
Tag:Community ecology; community-weighted mean; fixed average; fruit body; functional traits; fungi; specific average
Page Number:6
First Page:905
Last Page:910
Open access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Institut für Ökologie, Evolution und Diversität
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0