Application of species richness estimators for the assessment of fungal diversity


  • Editor: Geoffrey Gadd

Correspondence: Martin Unterseher, Department of Botany and Plant Systematics, Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald,Grimmer Strasse 88, D-17487, Greifswald, Germany. Tel.: +49 (0) 3834 864184; fax: +49 (0) 3834 864114; e-mail:


Species richness and distribution patterns of wood-inhabiting fungi and mycetozoans (slime moulds) were investigated in the canopy of a Central European temperate mixed deciduous forest. Species richness was described with diversity indices and species-accumulation curves. Nonmetrical multidimensional scaling was used to assess fungal species composition on different tree species. Different species richness estimators were used to extrapolate species richness beyond our own data. The reliability of the abundance-based coverage estimator, Chao, Jackknife and other estimators of species richness was evaluated for mycological surveys. While the species-accumulation curve of mycetozoans came close to saturation, that of wood-inhabiting fungi was continuously rising. The Chao 2 richness estimator was considered most appropriate to predict the number of species at the investigation site if sampling were continued. Gray's predictor of species richness should be used if statements of the number of species in larger areas are required. Multivariate analysis revealed the importance of different tree species for the conservation and maintenance of fungal diversity within forests, because each tree species possessed a characteristic fungal community. The described mathematical approaches of estimating species richness possess great potential to address fungal diversity on a regional, national, and global scale.