Interspecific fungal interactions in spatially heterogeneous systems

Nia A. White, Craig J. Sturrock, Karl Ritz, William B. Samson, James L. Bown, Harry J. Staines, John W. Palfreyman, John W. Crawford

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8 Citations (Scopus)


The community dynamics of two- and three-fungal species interactions derived for a tessellated agar model system are described. The microcosm allows for the varied prescription of: (1) the number of fungal species interacting; (2) the spatial configuration (patchiness) of the distribution of individuals; (3) the magnitude of scale of spatial occupation by different fungal individuals; and (4) the operation of antagonistic mechanisms based on contact or longer range diffusible components. Stepwise logistic regressions for two-species interactions are used to inform the design of the multi-species interaction tessellations. The model prescribes and investigates complex parameters, such as spatiotemporal heterogeneity and microcosm scale (e.g. population patchiness and crossing times). Data are quantified as proportion, interface class and state transition class of viable fungal species. Spatiotemporal heterogeneity is represented using a novel application of principal component analysis which shows good intuitive agreement with visual assessment of the interaction outcome patterns, and allows effective comparison of the data as a whole. The model demonstrates the influence of the complex and coordinated behaviour of fungal mycelia on community development: interaction outcome of three-species interactions cannot be directly extrapolated from the relevant binary component interactions; interaction outcomes of the multi-species tessellations appears to be neither random nor fully deterministic; a degree of stochasticity is apparent in all tessellation arrangements; the smaller scale tessellations produce more consistent interaction outcome results, probably because experimental scale affects the duration of transient behaviour; and different initial spatial configurations of inoculum (irrespective of inoculum quantity or proportion) influence community development and reproducibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-32
Number of pages12
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1998


  • Fungal interaction
  • Spatial heterogeneity
  • Biological model


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