Raised water temperature lowers diversity of hyporheic aquatic hyphomycetes


Felix Bärlocher, 63B York Street, Department of Biology, Mt. Allison University, Sackville, NB, Canada E4L 1G7. E-mail: fbaerlocher@mta.ca


1. The hyporheic zone of a permanent first-order stream was divided into a treatment and a control section using a 1 m deep sheet-metal barrier. During a 4-month pre-treatment period, water temperatures in two transects of the two sections were not different. Upon heating, the water temperature in the treatment transect increased by an average of 4.3 °C over values in the control transect.

2. Eleven bimonthly core samples were taken from a treatment and a control transect, and recovered CPOM was classified as twigs, wood, grass, roots, cedar and deciduous leaves.

3. In both transects, twigs were the most common and deciduous leaves the least common substrates. The number of leaf fragments declined significantly in the heat-treated transect.

4. Diversity and frequencies of occurrence of aquatic hyphomycetes were highest on leaves and lowest on grass and wood. On leaves, their frequency of occurrence was higher in control than in treatment samples.

5. Preliminary results with amplified and cloned 18S DNA sequences revealed many fungal taxa with high affinities to Basidiomycota, particularly to Limnoperdon incarnatum.

6. By itself, higher water temperature due to global warming is likely to lower the availability of substrates for, and therefore the occurrence of, aquatic hyphomycetes.