University of Minnesota
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
Go to the U of M home page

Department of Plant Pathology

Kabir Peay


Kabir Peay
Assistant Professor
Department of Plant Pathology
University of Minnesota

495 Borlaug Hall
1991 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN, 55108

phone: 612-625-8200

Fungal Biologist

Fungi are a critical component of the diversity and function of terrestrial ecosystems. Pathogens and mycorrhizal fungi receive a large, direct share of net primary productivity, and wood decay and mycorrhizal fungi play a critical role in the cycling of key plant macronutrients. However, the biodiversity and community dynamics of these organisms are still poorly resolved, as is the extent to which they control plant and animal community structure. Our lab uses fungi to study a wide range of applied and theoretical topics in community ecology, such as community assembly, links between above and below ground communities, biodiversity and ecosystem function, large-scale distribution and biogeography of microorganisms, host specificity and the evolution of symbioses along the mutualism-parasitism continuum.

Selected Publications:

Desjardin DE, Peay KG, and Bruns TD (in press). Spongiforma squarepantsii: a new species of gasteroid bolete from Borneo. Mycologia.

Peay KG, Kennedy PG, Bruns TD. (2011). Rethinking ectomycorrhizal succession: are root density and hyphal exploration types drivers of spatial and temporal zonation? Fungal Ecology 4: 233-240

Peay KG, M. Garbelotto, and T. D. Bruns. (2010). Evidence of dispersal limitation in soil microorganisms: Isolation reduces species richness on mycorrhizal tree islands. Ecology 91: 3631-3640

Peay KG, Bidartondo MI, Arnold, EA. (2010). Not every fungus is everywhere: scaling to the biogeography of fungal-plant interactions across roots, shoots and ecosystems. New Phytologist 185: 878-882

Parrent JL, Peay KG, Arnold AE, Comas LH, Avis P, Tuininga A. (2010). Moving from pattern to process in fungal symbioses: Linking functional traits, community ecology, and phylogenetics. New Phytologist 185: 882-886

Peay KG, Kennedy PG, Davies SJ, Tan S, Bruns TD. (2010) Potential link between plant and fungal distributions in a dipterocarp rainforest: community and phylogenetic structure of tropical ectomycorrhizal fungi across a plant and soil ecotone. New Phytologist 185: 529-542

Peay KG, Bruns TD, Garbelotto M. (2010) Testing the ecological stability of ectomycorrhizal symbiosis: effects of heat, ash and mycorrhizal colonization on Pinus muricata seedling performance.Plant & Soil 330: 291-302

Kennedy PG, Peay KG, Bruns TD. (2009) Root tip competition among ectomycorrhizal fungi: are priority effects a rule or an exception? Ecology 90: 2098-2107

Peay KG, Bruns TD, Garbelotto M. (2009). Spore heat resistance plays an important role in disturbance mediated assemblage shift of ectomycorrhizal fungi colonizing Pinus muricata seedlings.Journal of Ecology 97: 537-547

Bruns TD, Peay KG, Boynton PJ, Grubisha LC, Hynson NA, Nguyen NH, Rosenstock NP. (2008). Inoculum potential of Rhizopogon spores increases with time over the first four years of a 99-year spore burial experiment. New Phytologist 181: 463-470

Peay KG, Kennedy PG, Bruns TD (2008). Fungal community ecology: A hybrid beast with a molecular master. BioScience, 58: 799-810

Peay KG, Bruns TD, Kennedy PG, Bergemann SE, Garbelotto M (2007). A strong species-area relationship for soil microbial eukaryotes: Island size matters for ectomycorrhizal fungi. Ecology Letters 10: 470-480

Kennedy PG, Peay KG. (2007) Different soil moisture conditions change the outcome of the ectomycorrhizal symbiosis between Rhizopogon species and Pinus muricata. Plant and Soil 291: 155-165

Forrestel AB, Peay KG. 2006 Deforestation in a complex landscape: The Amistad Biosphere Reserve. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 22: 49-71

Schweigkofler WS, Otrosina WJ, Smith SL, Cluck DR, Maeda K, Peay KG, and Garbelotto M. 2005. Detection and quantification of Leptographium wageneri, the cause of black-stain root disease, from bark beetles (Coleoptera: Scolytidae) in Northern California using regular and Real-time PCR.Canadian Journal of Forest Research 35: 1798-1808.

Peay Lab for Fungal Ecology Website: