Correlating Mushroom Habitats and Geology in Grevena Prefecture (Greece) with the Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Correlating Mushroom Habitats and Geology in Grevena Prefecture (Greece) with the Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Stefanos Tsiaras (Department of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece) and Christos Domakinis (Department of Physical and Environmental Geography, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/ijaeis.2015040101
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The aim of this study is to assess the relationship between geological background and habitats of mushrooms. The study area is Grevena, a Prefecture of Greece well known for the great variety of the fungal flora and its distinctive geology. Thematic maps of the study area were produced with the use of GIS, taking under consideration geological formations, elevation, ecosystems and land use. Findings provide evidence that certain mushrooms are more likely to be found in specific ecosystems. The connection between forest ecosystems and the geology of the study area is more apparent, as certain forest types are related with specific geological formations; due to the insignificant presence of grasslands and riverine settings in the study area, it is not possible to assess the role of the geological formation for these mushroom habitats.
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1. Introduction

Spatial distribution models are broadly used to map tree species, plants and wild flowers, but have rarely been applied to mushrooms (Yang et al., 2006) and few researchers have sought to map fungal species distribution (Mitchel & Wright, 2000). Environmental maps (including elevation, vegetation, precipitation and geology data) have been used by Severin & Beierkuhnlein (2011) in their presentation of a geospatial analysis of La Palma’s plant species.

Mushrooms grow in different habitats, however the vast majority of them are found in forests (Arnolds & De Vries, 1993) ; in certain areas, many mushrooms even prefer specific tree species. Tree habitats, in their turn, are linked to the geology of a region, since certain tree species prefer specific soils as well as specific geological formations.

The tendency of mushrooms to favour specific hosts has long been established (Molina & Trappe, 1982; Molina et al., 1992; Newton & Haigh, 1998). The relationship between mushroom species and the dominant tree species of their habitat as well as the significance of host tree species in the spatial distribution of different mushroom species has been demonstrated in a number of studies (Gates et al., 2011; Humphrey et al., 2000; Ishida et al., 2007; Straatsma & Krisai-Greilhuber, 2003; Tedersoo et al., 2008). Several researchers in Britain have proved that certain types of fungi are associated with native pinewoods (Anon, 1998), Picea spp. (Newton & Haigh, 1998) and lowland conifer plantations (Ferris et al., 2000). Other studies in Europe have shown the preference of certain fungi towards oak trees (O’ Hanlon & Harrington, 2011) and beech tree species (Buée et al., 2011). A study in Britain showed the preference of the fungi of the genus Hericium to beech trees (Boddy et al., 2011). Different studies in Europe focusing at chestnut ecosystems revealed that specific fungi genera (i.e. Russula, Inocybe and Lactarius) are strongly connected to Castanea sativa (Baptista et al., 2010; Diamandis & Perlerou, 2001; Laganà et al., 2002). Studies in North America have described the dominant presence of the species Russula, Cortinarius and Inocybe in several old-growth forests of Pseudotsuga menziesii (Smith et al., 2002) and Quercus ilex (Richard et al., 2004).

Yang et al. (2006) have proved that forest type and elevation are important variables for specific mushroom (pine mushroom) distribution. The same paper has demonstrated that it is possible to model mushroom habitat with adequate accuracy.

Humphrey et al. (2000) have established the connection between fungal communities and certain tree species as well as certain soil types. The importance of site properties such as soil, organic matter quality and vegetation characteristic to mushroom habitats has been considered by several researchers (Burova, 1974; Hosford et al., 1997; Kranabetter et al., 2002; Mirron, 1994; Villeneuve et al., 1989). Moreover, several studies have shown how the existence and composition of mushroom communities are affected by soil pH in forest ecosystems (Arnolds, 1982; Erland & Taylor, 2002; Humphrey et al., 2000; Tyler, 1985), as well as by soil nutrient levels (Harrington & Mitchell, 2005; Kranabetter et al., 2009; Rühling & Tyler, 1990). Huggins et al. (2014) showed that Alnus glutinosa affects the soil conditions in such extent that only few fungi species grow, although in great numbers. A recent study in Greece assessed the relationship between the geology of an area and the ecosystems where mushrooms grow (Tsiaras & Domakinis, 2013).

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