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Evaluation of the functional roles of fungal endophytes of Phragmites australis from high saline and low saline habitats

August 12, 2016

Non-native Phragmites australis decreases biodiversity and produces dense stands in North America. We surveyed the endophyte communities in the stems, leaves and roots of collections of P. australis obtained from two sites with a low and high salt concentration to determine differences in endophyte composition and assess differences in functional roles of microbes in plants from both sites. We found differences in the abundance, richness and diversity of endophytes between the low saline collections (18 species distributed in phyla Ascomycota, Basidiomycota and Stramenopiles (Oomycota); from orders Dothideales, Pleosporales, Hypocreales, Eurotiales, Cantharellales and Pythiales; Shannon H = 2.639; Fisher alpha = 7.335) and high saline collections (15 species from phylum Ascomycota; belonging to orders Pleosporales, Hypocreales, Diaporthales, Xylariales and Dothideales; Shannon H = 2.289; Fisher alpha = 4.181). Peyronellaea glomerata, Phoma macrostoma and Alternaria tenuissima were species obtained from both sites. The high salt endophyte community showed higher resistance to zinc, mercury and salt stress compared to fungal species from the low salt site. These endophytes also showed a greater propensity for growth promotion of rice seedlings (a model species) under salt stress. The results of this study are consistent with the ‘habitat-adapted symbiosis hypothesis’ that holds that endophytic microbes may help plants adapt to extreme habitats. The capacity of P. australis to establish symbiotic relationships with diverse endophytic microbes that enhance its tolerance to abiotic stresses could be a factor that contributes to its invasiveness in saline environments. Targeting the symbiotic associates of P. australis could lead to more sustainable control of non-native P. australis.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
Title Evaluation of the functional roles of fungal endophytes of <i>Phragmites australis</i> from high saline and low saline habitats
DOI 10.1007/s10530-016-1160-z
Authors Marcos Antonio Soares, Hai-Yan Li, Kurt P. Kowalski, Marshall Bergen, Monica S. Torres, James F. White
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Biological Invasions
Index ID 70175464
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center