Analysis of fungal fruiting patterns at the Dawyck Botanic Garden
Item TypeJournal Article
MetadataShow full item record
Since 1994 data on fungal fruiting have been gathered in the Dawyck Botanic Garden outside Edinburgh, including that for eight plots within a 7.5 ha wood, which has been left unmanaged in order to investigate relationships amongst fungal succession, habitat characteristics and local weather patterns. The climatic data are provided by a small meteorological station situated on site. To handle nearly 4000 entries of data so far collected a computer database was constructed. This assists querying of the information so that changes in fungal communities and patterns of succession can be observed, and the relevant data extracted for further analysis. To aid in this analysis, and to give the user full control over editing, updating and querying the database, a special computer program was compiled. Analysis of the database records revealed that the currently known Dawyck fungal community comprises over 620 different taxa, and the species list increases every year. Although some species of mycorrhizal fungi showed high specificity towards their preferred host either at species (e.g. Lactarius blennius with beech, Lactarius quietus with oak, Russula fellea and Russula mairei with beech), or at genus level (e.g. Suillus spp. with Pinaceae), some other common fungi (e.g. of the genus Amanita) were found to have very wide host ranges. In addition, unusual mycorrhizal associations have also been recorded. A lime tree (Tilia), which is supposedly primarily endomycorrhizal, has been found regularly associated with Russula cyanoxantha, Russula parazurea, Russula pectinata and Inocybe fastigiata. Many common Scottish fungi were found to be associated with introduced exotic trees, which is illustrated on the example of Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir). The software created utilises the Microsoft Office suite of programs. Microsoft Access was used to construct the database, and Microsoft Excel was used for statistical investigations. The software was programmed using Microsoft Visual Basic, and provided a means of extracting the necessary data stored in Access and controlling the formulae used in Excel for their analysis. The recorded seasonal patterns of fungal fruiting was successfully described by a simulation mathematical model comprising differential and algebraic equations. This model may now be used as a submodel within more complex models describing terrestrial ecosystem processes. Examples of model simulations and sensitivity analysis are given and implications for future research discussed.