Dictyostelid cellular slime molds associated with grasslands of the central and western United States

TitleDictyostelid cellular slime molds associated with grasslands of the central and western United States
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsRollins, AW, Landolt, JC, Stephenson, SL
Pagination996 -1003
Accession NumberKNZ001417
Keywordsbiogeography ecology eumycetozoans grasslands

Dictyostelid cellular slime molds (dictyostelids) associated with grassland ecosystems of the central and western United States were investigated at nine sites that included examples of the three major ecological types of grasslands (tall grass, mixed grass and short grass) generally recognized for the region. Samples of soil/humus collected from each site were examined with the Cavender method of isolating dictyostelids. For each of those six sites with well developed gallery forests present, an additional set of forest soil/humus samples was collected. A more intensive sampling effort was carried out at one site (Konza LTER) to assess the possible effects of burning and grazing on dictyostelid diversity and density. Twelve species of dictyostelids were recovered from grassland sites, whereas gallery forest sites yielded only nine species. Four cosmopolitan species (Dictyostelium giganteum, D. mucoroides, D. sphaerocephalum and Polysphondylium pallidum) were represented by the greatest densities of clones, with D. sphaerocephalum particularly common. The general pattern across all sites was that both species richness and density of dictyostelids decreased with decreasing precipitation. Samples collected from ungrazed grassland plots yielded higher numbers of both species and clones as compared to grazed plots, and the general pattern was for both values to increase as the interval between fires increased. For numbers of clones this correlation was statistically significant.