A few Ascomycota taxa dominate soil fungal communities worldwide

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Eleonora Egidi
  • Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo
  • Jonathan M. Plett
  • Juntao Wang
  • David J. Eldridge
  • Fernando T. Maestre
  • Brajesh K. Singh


Despite having key functions in terrestrial ecosystems, information on the dominant soil fungi and their ecological preferences at the global scale is lacking. To fill this knowledge gap, we surveyed 235 soils from across the globe. Our findings indicate that 83 phylotypes (<0.1% of the retrieved fungi), mostly belonging to wind dispersed, generalist Ascomycota, dominate soils globally. We identify patterns and ecological drivers of dominant soil fungal taxa occurrence, and present a map of their distribution in soils worldwide. Whole-genome comparisons with less dominant, generalist fungi point at a significantly higher number of genes related to stress-tolerance and resource uptake in the dominant fungi, suggesting that they might be better in colonising a wide range of environments. Our findings constitute a major advance in our understanding of the ecology of fungi, and have implications for the development of strategies to preserve them and the ecosystem functions they provide.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Communications|Nat Commun
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2019

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