Date of Award

2011

First Advisor

Don Roeder

Second Advisor

Robert Schmidt

Third Advisor

Patricia Dooley

Abstract

This thesis was originally formulated to investigate the diversity of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi on campus in relation to different forest areas. However, due to low mushroom yields the focus was shifted towards an investigation of possible reasons why fewer ECM fruiting bodies were present in the Fall of 2010. Upon examination of precipitation data from Stockbridge, Ma it was found that western Massachusetts experienced a drought during the autumn months of 2010. This seemed like a probable impact factor for ECM fungi so ECM response to drought was researched. It was found that water stress can have a negative affect on the fruiting of ECM fungi. In addition, soil samples were taken from the study plots to test the water holding capacity of each plot and determine if there were significant differences among them with respect to the extent of mycorrhizal fruiting. It was determined that ECM fruiting did not differ significantly, even between plots with different soil water holding capacities. Finally ectomycorrhizal fungi and their response to probable climate change in the Northeastern United States was addressed and discussed. Overall, this thesis provided an adequate beginning to the study of the fungi found on Simon’s Rock campus.

Comments

Ask at the library circulation desk for the companion piece that accompanies this thesis (usually DVD or CD).

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