Authors: Stephenson, Steven L. & Elliott, Todd F.
Journal: Karstenia, Volume 60 (2022), Issue 1-2, pages 10-17.
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Key words: microbial ecology, moist chamber cultures, Amoebozoans, fire ecology, bushfires, slime molds
Abstract: In this study, we examined the impacts of a bushfire on a community of myxomycetes (also known as plasmodial slime moulds or myxogastrids) in northeastern New South Wales, Australia. Using the moist chamber culture technique, we prepared 40 moist chamber cultures from four different substrates. We collected the same four types of substrates on either side of a fire line approximately six months post-fire in order to assess what impact fire had on the myxomycete communities. Sixty percent of moist chamber cultures yielded evidence (plasmodia or fruiting bodies) of myxomycetes representing eleven species in eight genera. But only 40% of samples from the burned site were positive for myxomycetes, and only one species produced fruiting bodies. In contrast, 80% of samples from the unburned site were positive, and all eleven species were recorded. These data suggest that fire reduced the abundance and diversity of the myxomycete community at our site.