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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Environmentally relevant fungicide levels modify fungal community composition and interactions but not functioning

Baudy, Patrick; Zubrod, Jochen P.; Konschak, Marco; Roeder, Nina; Nguyen, Thu Huyen; Schreiner, Verena C.; Baschien, Christiane; Schulz, Ralf; Bundschuh, Mirco


Aquatic hyphomycetes (AHs), a group of saprotrophic fungi adapted to submerged leaf litter, play key functional roles in stream ecosystems as decomposers and food source for higher trophic levels. Fungicides, controlling fungal pathogens, target evolutionary conserved molecular processes in fungi and contaminate streams via their use in agricultural and urban landscapes. Thus fungicides pose a risk to AHs and the functions they provide. To investigate the impacts of fungicide exposure on the composition and functioning of AH communities, we exposed four AH species in monocultures and mixed cultures to increasing fungicide concentrations (0, 5, 50, 500, and 2500 mg/L). We assessed the biomass of each species via quantitative real-time PCR. Moreover, leaf decomposition was investigated. In monocultures, none of the species was affected at environmentally relevant fungicide levels (5 and 50 mg/L). The two most tolerant species were able to colonize and decompose leaves even at very high fungicide levels (>= 500 mg/L), although less efficiently. In mixed cultures, changes in leaf decomposition reflected the response pattern of the species most tolerant in monocultures. Accordingly, the decomposition process may be safeguarded by tolerant species in combination with functional redundancy. In all fungicide treatments, however, sensitive species were displaced and interactions between fungi changed from complementarity to competition. As AH community composition determines leaves' nutritional quality for consumers, the data suggest that fungicide exposures rather induce bottom-up effects in food webs than impairments in leaf decomposition. (C) 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning; Diversity effects; Leaf litter decomposition; DMI fungicides; Strobilurins

Published in

Environmental Pollution
2021, volume: 285, article number: 117234

Authors' information

Baudy, Patrick
University of Koblenz and Landau
Zubrod, Jochen P.
University of Koblenz and Landau
Konschak, Marco
University of Koblenz and Landau
Roeder, Nina
University of Koblenz and Landau
Nguyen, Thu Huyen
University of Koblenz and Landau
Schreiner, Verena C.
University of Koblenz and Landau
Baschien, Christiane
Leibniz Institut fur Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen (DSMZ)
Schulz, Ralf
University of Koblenz and Landau
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
University of Koblenz-Landau

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers


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