Senior Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)


Environmental Studies

Faculty Advisor(s)

Nancy Broshot

Subject Categories

Environmental Sciences


Fungal communities worldwide are scarcely understood in part due to their vast networks stretching underground or woven into the biomass of plant life. Even macrofungi which produce fruiting bodies colloquially called ‘mushrooms’ hold a transient lifestyle above soil. Urbanization has introduced another challenge towards studying fungi as highly disturbed soils and a lack of preferred host plant species can alter fungal community composition and prevalence. In the summer of 2020 the macrofungal community of Forest Park in Portland, Oregon was surveyed in addition to control sites in the Mount Hood National Forest. Fungi samples were identified by genus and when possible, species. Observations included nearest substrate, nearest vascular plant species, and GPS coordinates of the mushroom sample(s). Fungi samples were later identified as either saprophytic, mycorrhizal, or parasitic based on available literature. Our results of 648 confirmed (genus) fungi samples found that 90.8% were saprotrophs, 7.8% were ectomycorrhizal associated primarily with conifers, and that 1.4% were parasitic fungi. Shannon diversity and equitability scores showed that the national forest had a greater diversity of mycorrhizal fungi than the city and middle sections of Forest Park (P=0.0024), but that overall, there was little to no significant difference of the total fungal community composition across the urban forest compared to the national forest (P=0.1481). Further research is needed to identify additional members of the mycorrhizal community as to anticipate urbanization's effects, and how different types of mycorrhizal fungi improve urban forests and tree recruitment.