Is fungal species richness and composition related to the occurrence of the old-growth associated wood-decaying Amylocystis lapponica?


J. Rolstad, Norwegian Forest and Landscape Inst., PO Box 115, NO-1431 Ås, Norway. E-mail:


Amylocystis lapponica (Romell) Singer is a widely distributed wood-decaying polypore fungus found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Despite its huge distribution range it occurs rather patchily and seems narrowly associated with old-growth forest stands. Notably, it has been used as an ‘indicator species’, believed to reflect the long-term presence of dead wood, naturalness of forest stands, and indirectly, species richness and possibly composition. In this study we focused on the last issue – whether or not there is a link between the occurrence of A. lapponica and the species richness and composition of other wood-decaying fungi. Selecting log characteristics and microclimate as similar as possible, we compared 12 logs with and 12 logs without visible fruit bodies of A. lapponica to examine: 1) if visible fruit bodies corresponded with molecular identification of the mycelia, 2) if fungal species richness and composition of the substrate were related to A. lapponica occurrence, and 3) if A. lapponica was restricted to certain parts of the log. Fungal species were recorded by inspecting visible fruit bodies and by culture isolation and ITS sequencing from wood disc samples. Laboratory and field identification of A. lapponica had 71% correspondence, and mycelia were identified in two logs without visible fruit bodies. Twice as many fungal species were detected using ITS sequencing compared to fruit body identification. Total species richness was similar between the two log categories, but number of species per log was slightly higher in A. lapponica logs. Antrodia serialis (Fr.) Donk, and possibly also Fomitopsis pinicola (Sw.:Fr.) P. Karst. and Phellinus nigrolimitatus (Romell) Bourdot & Galzin, occurred more frequently in A. lapponica logs. Mycelia of A. lapponica were restricted to less decayed parts of the wood in the centre of the middle part of the logs.