Distribution and Role of Mat Forming Saprobic Basidiomycetes in a Tropical Forest y z

D. Jean Lodge, William H. McDowell, Jordan Macy, Sarah Katherine Ward, Rachel Leisso, Karla Claudio-Campos and Kerstin Kühnert

Contents 1. Introduction 198

2. The Role of Basidiomycete Litter Decomposers in Nutrient

Cycling 198

3. Basidiomycete Effects on Decomposition Rates 199

4. Litter Mat Abundance Along an Elevation Gradient 200

5. Effects of Nitrogen Addition on Litter Basidiomycetes 201

6. Movement of Basidiomycete Litter Mats 204

7. Basidiomycete Responses to Moisture 205

8. Effects of Basidiomycete Litter Mats on Erosion 205

9. Summary and Future Work 206 Acknowledgments 207 References 207

Abstract This chapter provides a brief synopsis of previous studies on the ecology of agaric decomposers that form litter 'mats' in tropical forests, augmented by data from temperate forest studies. Description of several experiments in tropical forests of the Luquillo Mountains in Puerto Rico is included. These studies showed higher rates of mass loss in leaves that were decomposed on basidiomycete mycelia (i.e., white-rot) than in the absence of

* This manuscript was prepared by a USA government employee on official time, so the information is in the public domain and not subject to copyright. y All work by the first author, except experiments on basidiomycete responses to moisture and preparation of this manuscript, was done as part of the Center for Forest Mycology Research, Forest Products Laboratory, USDA Forest Service, which is located at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI, but the author was stationed at the Sabana Field Research Station of the International Institute of Tropical Forestry in Puerto Rico. z The use of trade or firm names in this publication is for reader information and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture of any product or service.

British Mycological Society Symposia Series © 2008 The British Mycologica! Society

Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

basidiomycetes. The density of litter mats that were bound by basidiomycetes decreased with elevation and increased with slope. Addition of nitrogen inhibited mycelial growth. Capture of new litter by basidiomycetes was inhibited by nitrogen at high elevation. Litter-binding basidiomycetes exhibited differential responses to moisture, associated with full and partial shades. Micromphale bevipes was the only species that grew better in partial than in full shade. Marasmius crinis-equi had the highest rates of new attachments to litter in both full and partial shade, and was considered most suitable for use in restoration of steep road cuts and landslides to reduce erosion.

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