Filosofian maisteri Saine Sonja

17200 €

Reintroducing the threatened fungi of Finnish forests – understanding the ecological foundations of a novel conservation tool

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Yksivuotinen

The global environmental change has created an urgent need to develop efficient conservation frameworks to counteract the ongoing biodiversity crisis. This goal calls for a predictive understanding of how ecological communities respond to changes in their environment and for conservation tools that apply this information in practice. Yet, such information is lacking for various species. In this doctoral dissertation, I aim to disentangle the ecological processes influencing the colonization success of threatened wood-inhabiting fungi reintroduced via inoculation. We inoculated wood-inhabiting fungal species in an extensive field experiment and followed their colonization success one and two years after reintroductions. By applying cutting-edge DNA-based survey methods and modeling approaches, I study how species interactions and environmental factors jointly affect colonization success and estimate the level of stochasticity in colonization. I also assess how successful colonizations influence the subsequent development of resident fungal communities. The results have practical value in addressing the potential of reintroductions as a novel conservation tool for threatened wood-inhabiting fungi. At the same time, the project will improve our general understanding of how ecological assembly processes shape communities, helping us to make more accurate predictions about biodiversity responses to changing environments beyond wood-inhabiting fungi.