Doctor Nathalie Curlevski


Graduated PhD 2011

Thesis Title

The impacts of forest management practices and climate change on soil fungal communities

Research Project

Conversion of native forest to commercial forestry plantations can alter soil fungal community structure. Such disturbances to fungal communities may induce changes in fundamental soil processes, including carbon and nutrient cycling. To date, investigations have focused largely on the effects of establishing exotic tree plantations, thus little is known of the extent to which native forest conversion to native species plantations influences soil fungi. The objective of this project was to investigate soil fungal communities in adjacent native sclerophyll forest and ca 60 year-old (first rotation) and ca 8 year-old (second rotation) plantation monoculture forests of Araucaria cunninghamii at Yarraman state forest, Queensland, Australia. Soil cores were collected from five plots in each of the forest types with hyphal ingrowth bags buried for seven months in the native and first rotation forest plots. DNA was extracted from each sample and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) profiles of fungal rDNA internal transcribed spacer regions were compared. Canonical analyses of the principal coordinates (CAP) analysis of the T-RFLP data showed significant separation of forest types along canonical axis 2, with native forest separating from the two plantation forests along canonical axis 1. Furthermore, fungal communities in hyphal ingrowth bags were found to be more similar to each other than to the corresponding soil fungal communities. The data will be discussed in the context of ITS sequence data obtained from clone libraries generated for soil and hyphal ingrowth bags for each forest type.

Research Project Supervisors

Professor John Cairney, Associate Professor Ian Anderson, Dr Zhihong Xu

Awards / Honours

Awarded a $100 book voucher from the Co-Op Bookshop for an outstanding presentation at the CHS Research Futures Postgraduate Forum. Benefactor: College of Health and Science, 2008.


Curlevski NJA, Drigo B, Cairney JWG, Anderson IC, (2014) 'Influence of elevated atmospheric CO2 and water availability on soil fungal communities under Eucalyptus saligna', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.70, pp 263-271

Curlevski NJA, Xu ZH, Anderson IC, Cairney JWG, (2010) 'Converting Australian tropical rainforest to native Araucariaceae plantations alters soil fungal communities' Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.42, no.1, pp 14-20

Curlevski NJA, Chambers SM, Anderson IC, Cairney JWG, (2009) 'Identical genotypes of an ericoid mycorrhiza-forming fungus occur in roots of Epacris pulchella (Ericaceae) and Leptospermum polygalifolium (Myrtaceae) in an Australian sclerophyll forest', FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol.67, no.3, pp 411-420

Chambers SM, Curlevski NJA, Cairney JWG, (2008) 'Ericoid mycorrhizal fungi are common root inhabitants of non-Ericaceae plants in a south-eastern Australian sclerophyll forest', FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Vol.65, no.2, pp 263-270

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