skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: A simple pyrocosm for studying soil microbial response to fire reveals a rapid, massive response by Pyronema species

Abstract

We have designed a pyrocosm to enable fine-scale dissection of post-fire soil microbial communities. Using it we show that the peak soil temperature achieved at a given depth occurs hours after the fire is out, lingers near this peak for a significant time, and is accurately predicted by soil depth and the mass of charcoal burned. Flash fuels that produce no large coals were found to have a negligible soil heating effect. Coupling this system with Illumina MiSeq sequencing of the control and post-fire soil we show that we can stimulate a rapid, massive response by Pyronema, a well-known genus of pyrophilous fungus, within two weeks of a test fire. This specific stimulation occurs in a background of many other fungal taxa that do not change noticeably with the fire, although there is an overall reduction in richness and evenness. We introduce a thermo-chemical gradient model to summarize the way that heat, soil depth and altered soil chemistry interact to create a predictable, depth-structured habitat for microbes in post-fire soils. Coupling this model with the temperature relationships found in the pyrocosms, we predict that the width of a survivable “goldilocks zone”, which achieves temperatures that select for postfire-adapted microbes, willmore » stay relatively constant across a range of fuel loads. In addition we predict that a larger necromass zone, containing labile carbon and nutrients from recently heat-killed organisms, will increase in size rapidly with addition of fuel and then remain nearly constant in size over a broad range of fuel loads. The simplicity of this experimental system, coupled with the availability of a set of sequenced, assembled and annotated genomes of pyrophilous fungi, offers a powerful tool for dissecting the ecology of post-fire microbial communities.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER)
OSTI Identifier:
1602906
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1638367
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0016365; SC0020351
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
PLoS ONE
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: PLoS ONE Journal Volume: 15 Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher:
Public Library of Science
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; fungi; fuels; fungal genomics; wildfires; soil chemistry; fire suppression technologies; thermocouples; plant fungal pathogens

Citation Formats

Bruns, Thomas D., Chung, Judy A., Carver, Akiko A., Glassman, Sydney I., and Suen, ed., Garret. A simple pyrocosm for studying soil microbial response to fire reveals a rapid, massive response by Pyronema species. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0222691.
Bruns, Thomas D., Chung, Judy A., Carver, Akiko A., Glassman, Sydney I., & Suen, ed., Garret. A simple pyrocosm for studying soil microbial response to fire reveals a rapid, massive response by Pyronema species. United States. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222691
Bruns, Thomas D., Chung, Judy A., Carver, Akiko A., Glassman, Sydney I., and Suen, ed., Garret. Wed . "A simple pyrocosm for studying soil microbial response to fire reveals a rapid, massive response by Pyronema species". United States. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222691.
@article{osti_1602906,
title = {A simple pyrocosm for studying soil microbial response to fire reveals a rapid, massive response by Pyronema species},
author = {Bruns, Thomas D. and Chung, Judy A. and Carver, Akiko A. and Glassman, Sydney I. and Suen, ed., Garret},
abstractNote = {We have designed a pyrocosm to enable fine-scale dissection of post-fire soil microbial communities. Using it we show that the peak soil temperature achieved at a given depth occurs hours after the fire is out, lingers near this peak for a significant time, and is accurately predicted by soil depth and the mass of charcoal burned. Flash fuels that produce no large coals were found to have a negligible soil heating effect. Coupling this system with Illumina MiSeq sequencing of the control and post-fire soil we show that we can stimulate a rapid, massive response by Pyronema, a well-known genus of pyrophilous fungus, within two weeks of a test fire. This specific stimulation occurs in a background of many other fungal taxa that do not change noticeably with the fire, although there is an overall reduction in richness and evenness. We introduce a thermo-chemical gradient model to summarize the way that heat, soil depth and altered soil chemistry interact to create a predictable, depth-structured habitat for microbes in post-fire soils. Coupling this model with the temperature relationships found in the pyrocosms, we predict that the width of a survivable “goldilocks zone”, which achieves temperatures that select for postfire-adapted microbes, will stay relatively constant across a range of fuel loads. In addition we predict that a larger necromass zone, containing labile carbon and nutrients from recently heat-killed organisms, will increase in size rapidly with addition of fuel and then remain nearly constant in size over a broad range of fuel loads. The simplicity of this experimental system, coupled with the availability of a set of sequenced, assembled and annotated genomes of pyrophilous fungi, offers a powerful tool for dissecting the ecology of post-fire microbial communities.},
doi = {10.1371/journal.pone.0222691},
journal = {PLoS ONE},
number = 3,
volume = 15,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {3}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222691

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 1 work
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Towards a unified paradigm for sequence-based identification of fungi
journal, September 2013

  • Kõljalg, Urmas; Nilsson, R. Henrik; Abarenkov, Kessy
  • Molecular Ecology, Vol. 22, Issue 21
  • DOI: 10.1111/mec.12481

Fire-derived organic carbon in soil turns over on a centennial scale
journal, January 2012


Where are they hiding? Testing the body snatchers hypothesis in pyrophilous fungi
journal, February 2020


FORMATION OF POST-FIRE WATER-REPELLENT LAYERS IN MONTERREY PINE (pinus radiata D. DON) PLANTATIONS IN SOUTH-CENTRAL CHILE
journal, January 2010


The role of naturally occurring organic compounds in causing soil water repellency: Soil water repellency from organic compounds
journal, September 2013

  • Mainwaring, K.; Hallin, I. L.; Douglas, P.
  • European Journal of Soil Science, Vol. 64, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1111/ejss.12078

Predicting the Effect of Temperature on soil Thermal Conductivity
journal, January 1994


Forest floor chemical transformations in a boreal forest fire and their correlations with temperature and heating duration
journal, February 2016


How Rock Fragments and Moisture Affect Soil Temperatures during Fire
journal, May 2011

  • Stoof, Cathelijne R.; De Kort, Annemieke; Bishop, Thomas F. A.
  • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 75, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2010.0322

Double indexing overcomes inaccuracies in multiplex sequencing on the Illumina platform
journal, October 2011

  • Kircher, Martin; Sawyer, Susanna; Meyer, Matthias
  • Nucleic Acids Research, Vol. 40, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkr771

Fire as an evolutionary pressure shaping plant traits
journal, August 2011


Fire Reduces Fungal Species Richness and In Situ Mycorrhizal Colonization: A Meta-Analysis
journal, August 2017


Effect of a controlled burn on the thermophysical properties of a dry soil using a new model of soil heat flow and a new high temperature heat flux sensor
journal, January 2004

  • Massman, W. J.; Frank, J. M.
  • International Journal of Wildland Fire, Vol. 13, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1071/WF04018

Soil heating during the complete combustion of mega-logs and broadcast burning in central Oregon USA pumice soils
journal, January 2016

  • Smith, Jane E.; Cowan, Ariel D.; Fitzgerald, Stephen A.
  • International Journal of Wildland Fire, Vol. 25, Issue 11
  • DOI: 10.1071/WF16016

Community assembly, coexistence and the environmental filtering metaphor
journal, October 2014

  • Kraft, Nathan J. B.; Adler, Peter B.; Godoy, Oscar
  • Functional Ecology, Vol. 29, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12345

QIIME allows analysis of high-throughput community sequencing data
journal, April 2010

  • Caporaso, J. Gregory; Kuczynski, Justin; Stombaugh, Jesse
  • Nature Methods, Vol. 7, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.f.303

Basic local alignment search tool
journal, October 1990

  • Altschul, Stephen F.; Gish, Warren; Miller, Webb
  • Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 215, Issue 3, p. 403-410
  • DOI: 10.1016/S0022-2836(05)80360-2

Fire and Flame for Plant Disease Control
journal, September 1976


Challenges in microbial ecology: building predictive understanding of community function and dynamics
journal, March 2016

  • Widder, Stefanie; Allen, Rosalind J.; Pfeiffer, Thomas
  • The ISME Journal, Vol. 10, Issue 11
  • DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2016.45

Don't make a mista(g)ke: is tag switching an overlooked source of error in amplicon pyrosequencing studies?
journal, December 2012


Studies on pyrophilous discomycetes
journal, September 1968


Prospects and challenges for fungal metatranscriptomics of complex communities
journal, April 2015


Nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region as a universal DNA barcode marker for Fungi
journal, March 2012

  • Schoch, C. L.; Seifert, K. A.; Huhndorf, S.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 109, Issue 16
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1117018109

Studies on pyrophilous discomycetes
journal, September 1968


Sequence Depth, Not PCR Replication, Improves Ecological Inference from Next Generation DNA Sequencing
journal, February 2014


Effects of fire on properties of forest soils: a review
journal, February 2005


Fires of differing intensities rapidly select distinct soil fungal communities in a Northwest US ponderosa pine forest ecosystem
journal, October 2016


The genome portal of the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute: 2014 updates
journal, November 2013

  • Nordberg, Henrik; Cantor, Michael; Dusheyko, Serge
  • Nucleic Acids Research, Vol. 42, Issue D1
  • DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkt1069

Warming and Earlier Spring Increase Western U.S. Forest Wildfire Activity
journal, August 2006


Dynamic Molecular Structure of Plant Biomass-Derived Black Carbon (Biochar)
journal, February 2010

  • Keiluweit, Marco; Nico, Peter S.; Johnson, Mark G.
  • Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 44, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1021/es9031419

Ectomycorrhizal fungal spore bank recovery after a severe forest fire: some like it hot
journal, October 2015

  • Glassman, Sydney I.; Levine, Carrie R.; DiRocco, Angela M.
  • The ISME Journal, Vol. 10, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2015.182

The myth of the biological threshold: A review of biological responses to soil heating associated with wildland fire
journal, January 2019


The Genome and Development-Dependent Transcriptomes of Pyronema confluens: A Window into Fungal Evolution
journal, September 2013


Belowground community responses to fire: meta-analysis reveals contrasting responses of soil microorganisms and mesofauna
journal, October 2018

  • Pressler, Yamina; Moore, John C.; Cotrufo, M. Francesca
  • Oikos, Vol. 128, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1111/oik.05738

Chemical Activation of Ascospore Germination in Neurospora crassa1
journal, January 1948


UPARSE: highly accurate OTU sequences from microbial amplicon reads
journal, August 2013


Estimating the heat transfer to an organic soil surface during crown fire
journal, January 2015

  • Thompson, D. K.; Wotton, B. M.; Waddington, J. M.
  • International Journal of Wildland Fire, Vol. 24, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1071/WF12121