A few Ascomycota taxa dominate soil fungal communities worldwide

Eleonora Egidi*, Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo, Jonathan M. Plett, Juntao Wang, David J. Eldridge, Richard D. Bardgett, Fernando T. Maestre, Brajesh K. Singh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

346 Scopus citations


Despite having key functions in terrestrial ecosystems, information on the dominant soil fungi and their ecological preferences at the global scale is lacking. To fill this knowledge gap, we surveyed 235 soils from across the globe. Our findings indicate that 83 phylotypes (<0.1% of the retrieved fungi), mostly belonging to wind dispersed, generalist Ascomycota, dominate soils globally. We identify patterns and ecological drivers of dominant soil fungal taxa occurrence, and present a map of their distribution in soils worldwide. Whole-genome comparisons with less dominant, generalist fungi point at a significantly higher number of genes related to stress-tolerance and resource uptake in the dominant fungi, suggesting that they might be better in colonising a wide range of environments. Our findings constitute a major advance in our understanding of the ecology of fungi, and have implications for the development of strategies to preserve them and the ecosystem functions they provide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2369
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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