Samantha Katherine Dawson, Lynne Boddy, Hans Halbwachs, Claus Bässler, Carrie Andrew, Thomas Ward Crowther, Jacob Heilmann-Clausen, Jenni Nordén, Otso Ovaskainen, Mari Jönsson
Functional traits are often used in ecology to better understand the mechanisms behind ecological community formation and ecosystem processes. This journal attests to the rise of functional trait ecology over the past 20 years as a sub-discipline of plant and animal ecology. Yet standard methods for taking functional trait measurements in many organisms are lacking, including fungi. Standardised methods are needed because they allow for replicability and comparisons between studies.
Here we present a handbook which details methods for trait measurements of basidiomycete wood fungi. The handbook covers 61 traits and trait suites (where several traits are described together), often with a number of different measurement methods detailed. This handbook focuses on morphological and physiological fungal traits, as opposed to molecular trait measurement, which likely requires its own handbook. While some trait measurement methods are presented as standardised methods with full details, others are only outlined as more research is required to refine these methods or substantial technical detail (e.g. isotope measurement) would be necessary. In addition to the traits, we also include information on statistical approaches for trait analyses and introduce some of the major trait concepts for mycologists new to functional trait ecology.
This is the first trait handbook for fungi, hence the ‘start’ in the title, as we envisage trait handbooks for other fungal groups to come in the future. We start with basidiomycete wood fungi as they are found in all forests worldwide, where they perform crucial roles as decomposers, and as food and habitat for other species.