Core project 8 - Microorganisms: Soil fungal diversity and community composition of grassland and forest ecosystems along land-use gradients in three German Biodiversity Explanatories


Previous project phase (2014 - 2017)


Scientific investigators:

Prof. Dr. Francois Buscot

Dr. Tesfaye Wubet

Dr. Kathrin Patsias

Sandra Klemmer

Kezia Goldmann

Beatrix Schnabel

Ricardo Schöps

(Helmholtz Centre For Environmental Research -UFZ, Halle)

In this phase the main objective of core project 8 is to use an improved strategy to monitor soil fungi in all experimental plots (EPs) with an emphasis on functional relationships between the plants and their rhizosphere mycobiom along land-use and management gradients.



1.    Characterize the key players of the grassland rhizosphere fungal community and find the factors influencing their diversity and community composition.

2.    Study the relationship between grassland plant traits, land-use intensity and the plant rhizosphere mycobiome.

3.    Assess the significance of beech ecotypes in shaping specific rhizosphere mycobiomes under variable management and environmental conditions.

4.    Monitor land-use intensity and management effects on the soil fungal diversity and community composition.



H1: The diversity and community composition of the active rhizosphere mycobiomes in grassland changes in relation to both plant functional groups and soil parameters.

H2: Differences in plant species mycobiome compositions are related to variation in plant traits, land-use intensity and environmental variables.

H3: The patterns of plant-fungal interaction networks are shaped by plant ecotype.

H4: Land-use and forest management types affect the fungal community composition.



Soil microbial DNA extraction, Amplicon library preparation and Next-Generation-Sequencing technologies, Bioinformatics (MOTHUR & QIIME) and multivariate statistics.

Collaboration in sample collection and data analysis with other projects:

-    ProFIL
-    NanoFaun
-    Botanik
-    Boden (Abiotik)
-    BELOW
-    InDiLaNi