PloS one

Fungal communities in ancient peatlands developed from different periods in the Sanjiang Plain, China.

PMID 29236715


Peatlands in the Sanjiang Plain could be more vulnerable to global warming because they are located at the southernmost boundary of northern peatlands. Unlike bacteria, fungi are often overlooked, even though they play important roles in substance circulation in the peatland ecosystems. Accordingly, it is imperative that we deepen our understanding of fungal community structure and diversity in the peatlands. In this study, high-throughput Illumina sequencing was used to study the fungal communities in three fens in the Sanjiang Plain, located at the southern edge of northern peatlands. Peat soil was collected from the three fens which developed during different periods. A total of 463,198 fungal ITS sequences were obtained, and these sequences were classified into at least six phyla, 21 classes, more than 60 orders and over 200 genera. The fungal community structures were distinct in the three sites and were dominated by Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. However, there were no significant differences between these three fens in any α-diversity index (p > 0.05). Soil age and the carbon (C) accumulation rate, as well as total carbon (TC), total nitrogen (TN), C/N ratio, and bulk density were found to be closely related to the abundance of several dominant fungal taxa. We captured a rich fungal community and confirmed that the dominant taxa were those which were frequently detected in other northern peatlands. Soil age and the C accumulation rate were found to play important roles in shaping the fungal community structure.