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East Missoula, MT, United States

Fungal endophytes can influence survivability and disease severity of trees. Here we characterized the endophyte community in Pinus monticola (western white pine), an important species in the northwest USA, largely decimated by pathogenic fungi. We also assessed the ability to successfully inoculate seedlings with desirable endophytes, with the long-term goal of providing a protective microbiome and added defense from pathogens. P. monticola seedlings were inoculated in the field with potential pathogen antagonists and fungi isolated from healthy mature trees. Following inoculations direct amplification and next generation sequencing were used to characterize fungal endophyte communities, and explore interspecific competition, diversity, and co-occurrence patterns in needle tissues. Negative co-occurrence patterns between inoculated fungi and potential pathogens, as well as many other species, suggest early competitive interactions. Our study explores early endophyte community assemblage and shows that fungal inoculations may influence tree growth. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and The British Mycological Society. Source

Larkin B.G.,MPG Operations LLC | Hunt L.S.,MPG Operations LLC | Ramsey P.W.,MPG Operations LLC
Fungal Ecology | Year: 2012

Asymptomatic fungal endophytes colonize tissues of woody plants worldwide, with largely unknown ecological effects. Using culture-based methods and ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 rDNA sequence analysis, we investigated differences between foliar endophyte communities in disease-resistant hybrid and wild-type Pinus monticola (Western white pine) trees with observed variation in tree growth, vigor, and browsing damage by white-tailed deer (Odocoileusvirginianus). We isolated 69 phylotypes of endophytic fungi in at least 39 genera, including 26 that have not previously been reported in P. monticola. Principal components analysis revealed that endophyte communities differed between browsed seedlings, unbrowsed seedlings, and unbrowsed adult trees. Sulfur, nitrate and calcium concentrations correlated with endophyte community differences among tree groups based on a distance-based redundancy analysis. Our results indicate that foliar nutrient variation influences endophyte community assembly and deer herbivory in P. monticola on a small landscape scale (80 hectares). © 2011 Elsevier Ltd and The British Mycological Society. Source

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