Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Ecology and Environmental Science


Peter Avis

Committee Members

Shawn Fraver, Erin Grey, Sharon Tisher, Ivan Fernandez

Graduation Year

August 2022

Publication Date

Fall 8-2022


The decomposition of wood is driven by a combination of abiotic and biotic factors, the most influential of them all are fungi. These decomposer fungi use the wood for food, digesting woody material to absorb nutrients and release carbon dioxide. Fungi are the primary drivers of decomposition in most terrestrial ecosystems; thus, the rate and degree of decomposition are greatly dependent on the community of fungi found on woody debris. However, little is known about which fungi decompose woody debris most efficiently. This study aims to investigate the decomposer fungi in the Bear Brook Watershed via molecular techniques and quantify their rates of decomposition to understand which fungi are the most effective decomposers.