Temporal variation of Bistorta vivipara-associated ectomycorrhizal fungal communities in the High Arctic

Sunil Mundra, Mohammad Bahram, Leho Tedersoo, Hvard Kauserud, Rune Halvorsen, Pernille Bronken Eidesen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi are important for efficient nutrient uptake of several widespread arctic plant species. Knowledge of temporal variation of ECM fungi, and the relationship of these patterns to environmental variables, is essential to understand energy and nutrient cycling in Arctic ecosystems. We sampled roots of Bistorta vivipara ten times over two years; three times during the growing-season (June, July and September) and twice during winter (November and April) of both years. We found 668 ECM OTUs belonging to 25 different ECM lineages, whereof 157 OTUs persisted throughout all sampling time-points. Overall, ECM fungal richness peaked in winter and species belonging to Cortinarius, Serendipita and Sebacina were more frequent in winter than during summer. Structure of ECM fungal communities was primarily affected by spatial factors. However, after accounting for spatial effects, significant seasonal variation was evident revealing correspondence with seasonal changes in environmental conditions. We demonstrate that arctic ECM richness and community structure differ between summer (growing-season) and winter, possibly due to reduced activity of the core community, and addition of fungi adapted for winter conditions forming a winter-active fungal community. Significant month × year interactions were observed both for fungal richness and community composition, indicating unpredictable between-year variation. Our study indicates that addressing seasonal changes requires replication over several years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6289-6302
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Arctic
  • Bistorta vivipara
  • Illumina sequencing
  • Svalbard
  • ectomycorrhizal fungi
  • fungal richness and community
  • metagenomics/community genomics
  • seasonal/temporal variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics


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