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Karlsen-Ayala, Elena [1], Jusino, Michelle A. [2], Gazis, Romina [1], Smith, Matthew [3].

Characterization of the ectomycorrhizal fungal spore bank associated with Florida slash pines in the endangered pine rockland ecosystem.

The south Florida pine rocklands is a critically endangered ecosystem predominately due to habitat fragmentation and encroachment by invasive species. This ecosystem is characterized by an open canopy of south Florida slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. densa) and an understory of temperate and tropical plants. Many studies have demonstrated the importance of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) “spore banks” as primary inoculum in early pine seedling establishment. However, little information is known about the diversity and community structure of naturally occurring ECM spore banks in subtropical or tropical pine forests in the southeastern U.S.A. The characterization of ECM fungi in Florida pine rockland ecosystems is critical for the success of restoration efforts. Here we document broad community structure patterns of ECM fungi associated with two varieties of Pinus elliottii seedlings. Bioassay soils were sampled from 23 sites in 7 different forests across a latitudinal gradient, representing 3 major habitat types in Florida, USA. Metabarcoding of the fungal ITS1 was used to assess the pool of ECM in fresh soils at each site. Soil transplant experiments were conducted under greenhouse conditions. Aseptically germinated Pinus elliottii seedlings were planted on soils from each site and grown for 7 months. Representative ECM root morphotypes from each seedling were ITS-sequenced. Soil metabarcoding data demonstrate that fungal communities clustered base on habitat type. We recovered 22 ECM taxa from seedling root tips representing 9 different ECM lineages. Rhizopogon was the most abundant ECM across all sites. Knowledge generated through this research constitutes the first look into the belowground symbiosis of the keystone species of this unique and fragile ecosystem.

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1 - University of Florida , Plant Pathology , 18905 SW 280th St, Homestead, FL, 33031, United States
2 - Williams and Mary College, Department of Biology , 540 Landrum Drive, Williamsburg, Virginia , 23185, USA
3 - Plant Pathology, PO Box 110680, Gainesville, FL, 32611, United States


Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: MY3, Mycology: Fungus-Plant Interactions - Ectomycorrhizae and Orchid Mycorrhizae
Location: /
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 3:00 PM(EDT)
Number: MY3001
Abstract ID:652
Candidate for Awards:MSA Best Oral Presentation Award by a Graduate Student

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