Fungal communities associated with acorn woodpeckers and their excavations
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Wood-decay fungi soften wood, putatively providing opportunities for woodpeckers to excavate an otherwise hard substrate, yet the fungal community composition in tree cavities and the specificity of these relationships is largely unknown. We used high-throughput amplicon sequencing of the fungal ITS2 region to examine the fungal communities associated with acorn woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus) and their cavities in mature valley oak (Quercus lobata) and blue oak (Q. douglasii) trees in an oak savannah of central coastal California, USA. Acorn woodpeckers and their excavations harbored over 1500 fungal taxa, including more than 100 putative wooddecay fungi. The fungal communities found on the birds were more similar to those found in excavated cavities than those found in trees without excavated holes. These results suggest that symbiotic associations between acorn woodpeckers and fungi are highly diverse, with low specificity. Symbiotic associations between cavityexcavators and fungi are likely more common and widespread than previously thought.
KeywordsCavity nester; Decay; HTS; Microbiome; Mycobiome; Next-generation sequencing; Picidae; Tree hole
Jusino, Michelle A.; Hagemeyer, Natasha D.G.; Banik, Mark T.; Palmer, Jonathan M.; Lindner, Daniel L.; Smith, Matthew E.; Koenig, Walter D.; Walters, Eric L. 2022. Fungal communities associated with acorn woodpeckers and their excavations. Fungal Ecology. 59(24): 101154. 7 p. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.funeco.2022.101154.