Fungi in Ecosystem Processes: 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Fungi in Ecosystem Processes

2nd Edition

By John Dighton

CRC Press

382 pages | 5 Color Illus. | 105 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781482249057
pub: 2016-03-08
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pub: 2018-09-03
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This new edition of Fungi in Ecosystem Processes continues the unique approach of examining the roles of fungi from the perspective of ecosystem functions. It explores how fungi have adapted to survive within particular constraints, how they help to maintain homeostasis in ecosystems, how they facilitate resistance to perturbations, and how they influence the communities of other organisms.

Updated and revised, the second edition

  • Expands the section on plant pathogens, invasive species, and insect–fungal interactions
  • Provides more extensive coverage on insect–fungal interactions, including entomopathogens, the links between entomopathogens and endophytes, and symbiotic and mutualistic interactions
  • Adds a new section on fungi in the built environment
  • Presents new material on below-ground to above-ground interactions mediated through fungi, such as mycorrhizal signaling systems for herbivory defense

The book also includes expanded coverage of the role of fungi in suppressive soils, aquatic and marine fungi, modern methods of following food chains in fungal–invertebrate trophic interactions, and the physiology of nutrient uptake by mycorrhizae.

A necessary update and expansion to previous material, this book provides an essential reference on the current understanding of fungal roles in ecosystem processes. It also identifies directions for future study, including an emphasis on the need for further research on fungi in built environments.

Table of Contents


Why Fungi?

What Are Fungi?

What Are Ecosystems and Ecosystem Functions?

Specific Ecosystem Services Carried Out by Fungi



Making Nutrients Available for Primary Production

Making Soils

Breaking Down the Dead: Adding Fertility

Where Does Soil Begin and End?

Keeping Soils Together

Nutrient Availability in Aquatic and Marine Ecosystems



Role of Fungi in Promoting Primary Production

Lichens as Primary Producers

Mycorrhizae Help Primary Production

Succession and Plant Community Composition

Plant Communities

Plugging into the Hyphal Network

Interactions with Other Microbes

Mycorrhizae and Stress Tolerance

Mycorrhizae in Aquatic and Estuarine Systems

Fungal Endophytes and Primary Production



Role of Fungi in Reducing Primary Production

Pathogenic Fungi and Natural Plant Communities

Pathogens and Agroecosystems

Interactions between Mycorrhizae and Plant Pathogens

Saprotroph–Pathogen Interactions—Biocontrol




Fungi and Secondary Productivity

Fungi in Diet of Vertebrates

Fungi in Diet of Invertebrates

Influence of Faunal Grazing on Decomposition

Influence of Faunal Grazing on Mycorrhizal Function

Influence of Fauna on Fungal Dispersal

Influence of Invertebrate Grazing on Fungal Pathogens

Specific Fungal–Faunal Interactions

Fungal–Faunal Interactions in Aquatic and Marine Ecosystems



Fungi as Animal Pathogens: Negative Impacts on Faunal Productivity


Nematode Pathogens and Predators

Emerging Vertebrate Fungal Pathogens

Pathogens in Aquatic and Marine Ecosystems



Fungal Interactions with Pollutants and Climate Change

Fungi and Acidifying Pollutants

Fungi and Heavy Metals

Organic Pollutants

Fungi and Radionuclides

Fungi and Climate Change



Fungi in the Built Environment

Decomposition of Fabric of Buildings

Air Spora, Health Problems, and Molds on Structures

Hot Spots of Fungal Activity Related to Environment

Degradation of Artifacts

Possible Protection of Artifacts

Food Spoilage



About the Author

John Dighton earned his MSc in ecology from Durham University, UK, and his PhD from London University, UK. After a brief spell of teaching high school, he worked for 15 years for the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Merlewood, UK, where he studied ectomycorrhizal fungi, forest soil ecology, forest nutrition, and the impacts of pollutants on fungi. He moved to the United States and started working with Rutgers University to run their Pinelands Field Station in the pine barrens of New Jersey. He has published more than 100 scientific papers; serves on the editorial boards of Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Fungal Biology, and Fungal Ecology; and has edited books on soil and mycology-related topics.

About the Series


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Ecology
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Botany
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Biology / Microbiology
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / General