1.?The outcome of interactions between wood decay basidiomycete fungi is affected by the size of territory held by a mycelium. We investigated the outcomes of interactions between the cord-forming saprotrophs Phanerochaete velutina (DC: Pers.) Parm., Phallus impudicus (L.) Pers. and Hypholoma fasciculare (Huds: Fr) Kumner over 152–155 days, determined as ability to capture or share territory in soil and wood, in terms of decay partitioning and the carbon cost of interactions.\r
2.?The outcome of interactions in wood alone differed from those in which the fungi competed for an opponents’ inoculum in soil microcosms. Competitive ability (the ability to capture or co-occupy an opponent’s inoculum) varied according to species and inoculum age. In wood block pairings in the absence of soil there was evidence that P. velutina opportunistically utilized C previously mobilized within an opponent’s inoculum.\r
3.?In soil systems, short-term (28-day) respiratory losses of preloaded 14C (supplied as glucose) indicated that interaction could have a substantial C cost, depending on the resource quality of the opponents’ inocula. Phallus impudicus inocula accumulated 14C from opponents’ mycelia during ‘deadlock’ interactions, although reciprocal interspecific 14C transfer was not observed.\r
4. ?Saprotrophic cord-forming basidiomycetes are considered to be highly conservative of acquired nutrients, representing a significant nutrient reservoir in woodland ecosytems. Here we demonstrate that a potential major pathway for nutrient mineralization by this group is nutrient loss during competitive interactions in soil.
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