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Abstract Detail


Apigo, Austen [1], Oono, Ryoko [1].

Plant abundance, but not plant evolutionary history, shape patterns of host specificity in foliar fungal endophytes.

There has been limited progress towards identifying general mechanisms that explain why horizontally-acquired endosymbionts exhibit host specificity, associating with some hosts but not others. In this study, we explored host specificity in foliar fungal endophytes, a guild of highly diverse fungi that occur within the photosynthetic tissues of all plant lineages. We sampled all plant species within a single community and tested the effect of plant abundance or plant evolutionary relatedness on various measures of endophyte host specificity. We evaluated host specificity with methods that considered the total endophyte community per plant host (i.e., multivariate methods) along with species-based methods (i.e., univariate metrics) that considered host specificity from the perspective of each endophyte species. Univariate metrics quantified host specificity in the context of plant diversity (structural specificity), plant spatial structure (beta-specificity) and plant phylogenetic relationships (phylogenetic specificity). We standardized the effect sizes of univariate host specificity metrics to randomized distributions to avoid spurious correlations between host specificity and endophyte abundance. More abundant plant species harbored endophytes that occupied fewer plant species (higher structural specificity) and were consistently found in the same plant species across the landscape (higher beta-specificity). There was no relationship between plant phylogenetic distance and endophyte community dissimilarity. We still found that endophyte community composition significantly varied among plant species, families and major groups supporting a plant identity effect. In particular, endophytes in angiosperm lineages occupied narrower phylogenetic breadths of plants (higher phylogenetic specificity) relative to endophytes within conifer and fern lineages. Using univariate metrics in conjunction with commonly-used multivariate techniques can help explain the structure of diverse and ubiquitous host-symbiont relationships.

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1 - University of California, Santa Barbara, Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

foliar fungal endophyte
host specificity
plant-fungal interactions
community ecology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: MY4, Mycology: Endophytes, Communities, Hydrophobins, and Transporters
Location: /
Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
Time: 1:30 PM(EDT)
Number: MY4005
Abstract ID:95
Candidate for Awards:MSA Best Oral Presentation Award by a Graduate Student

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