The nature and mechanisms of successions of fungi in soil and plant litter are discussed, and an autecological study of a basidiomycete used to illustrate some methods of approach. THE NATURE OF FUNGAL SUCCESSIONS Succession of both plants and fungi can be de®ned as ` a directional change in the composition, relative abundance and spatial pattern of species comprising communities' (Frankland, 1992). Mycologically, succession is more precisely ` the sequential occupation of the same site by thalli (normally mycelia) either of different fungi, or of different associations of fungi ' (Rayner & Todd, 1979). Fungi replace one another as their dynamic communities of mycelia alter in space and time, each species adapted for occupation of particular niches. As Johnson (1979) said : `The kernel of the idea of succession is obviously evolution.' This fundamental assumption regarding inherited adaptations is often forgotten but underlies the whole subject. Successional studies have mirrored changes in mycologists' perspectives and techniques of their day. Early workers concentrated on replacement of species in time rather than in " see paper"
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