High resilience of the mycorrhizal community to prescribed seasonal burnings in eastern Mediterranean woodlands

Stav Livne-Luzon, Hagai Shemesh, Yagil Osem, Yohay Carmel, Hen Migael, Yael Avidan, Anat Tsafrir, Sydney I. Glassman, Thomas D. Bruns, Ofer Ovadia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fire effects on ecosystems range from destruction of aboveground vegetation to direct and indirect effects on belowground microorganisms. Although variation in such effects is expected to be related to fire severity, another potentially important and poorly understood factor is the effect of fire seasonality on soil microorganisms. We carried out a large-scale field experiment examining the effects of spring (early-dry season) versus autumn (late-dry- season) burns on the community composition of soil fungi in a typical Mediterranean woodland. Although the intensity and severity of our prescribed burns were largely consistent between the two burning seasons, we detected differential fire season effects on the composition of the soil fungal community, driven by changes in the saprotrophic fungal guild. The community composition of ectomycorrhizal fungi, assayed both in pine seedling bioassays and from soil sequencing, appeared to be resilient to the variation inflicted by seasonal fires. Since changes in the soil saprotrophic fungal community can directly influence carbon emission and decomposition rates, we suggest that regardless of their intensity and severity, seasonal fires may cause changes in ecosystem functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-216
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Cistus
  • Ecosystem resilience
  • Ectomycorrhizal fungi
  • Fungal richness
  • Illumina MiSeq
  • Mediterranean
  • Pinus halepensis
  • Prescribed burns
  • Seasonality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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