Ectomycorrhizal fungal communities in natural and urban ecosystems: Quercus humboldtii as a study case in the tropical Andes

Juan David Sanchez-Tello, Adriana Corrales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Worldwide urban landscapes are expanding because of the growing human population. Urban ecosystems serve as habitats to highly diverse communities. However, studies focusing on the diversity and structure of ectomycorrhizal communities are uncommon in this habitat. In Colombia, Quercus humboldtii Bonpl. is an ectomycorrhizal tree thriving in tropical montane forests hosting a high diversity of ectomycorrhizal fungi. Q. humboldtii is planted as an urban tree in Bogotá (Colombia). We studied how root-associated fungal communities of this tree change between natural and urban areas. Using Illumina sequencing, we amplified the ITS1 region and analyzed the resulting data using both OTUs and Amplicon Sequence Variants (ASVs) bioinformatics pipelines. The results obtained using both pipelines showed no substantial differences between OTUs and ASVs for the community patterns of root-associated fungi, and only differences in species richness were observed. We found no significant differences in the species richness between urban and rural sites based on Fisher’s alpha or species-accumulation curves. However, we found significant differences in the community composition of fungi present in the roots of rural and urban trees with rural communities being dominated by Russula and Lactarius and urban communities by Scleroderma, Hydnangium, and Trechispora, suggesting a high impact of urban disturbances on ectomycorrhizal fungal communities. Our results highlight the importance of urban trees as reservoirs of fungal diversity and the potential impact of urban conditions on favoring fungal species adapted to more disturbed ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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