Spatial and temporal dynamics in the Phialocephala fortinii s.l. – Acephala applanata species complex (PAC)
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Background and aims
Dark septate endophytes of the Phialocephala fortinii s.l. – Acephala applanata species complex (PAC) are abundant root colonizers of woody plants in boreal and temperate forest ecosystems where they form complex communities. Community structure was spatially stable for 3 years in a previous experiment, suggesting PAC’s inability to disperse or mutual inhibition of neighboring PAC genotypes. The aim of this study was to test whether changes in PAC community structure occur at all.
The community structure originally determined in 2004 was reassessed in 2014 in a Norway-spruce plantation using microsatellite genotyping.
Most isolates belonged to Phialocephala turicensis, P. letzii, P. europaea, and P. helvetica in both years. P. uotilensis and Acephala applanata were rare. PAC species were the same at only two grid points in both years. P. europaea was more frequent than P. turicensis in 2004 whereas the situation was opposite in 2014. Only four of the 22 genotypes in 2004 were found in 2014. Interestingly, none of the genotypes was detected at the same grid points in both years. Extended sampling in 2014 led to a significantly higher number of grid points testing positive for the presence of P. turicensis and P. helvetica.
More than 3 years are required to detect shifts in PAC community structures. The observed shifts suggest that PAC are able to disperse in soil or via root networks, though very slowly.
KeywordsCommunity dynamics Phialocephala fortinii s.l Root endophytes Norway spruce Resampling
We would like to thank the Genetic Diversity Centre (GDC) of ETH Zürich for providing the laboratory facilities necessary for performing microsatellite analyses. Moreover, we extend our gratitude to Anja Gall for her excellent technical assistance and Vivanne Dubach for helping with the sampling. Furthermore, we wish to thank Christine Syrad for manuscript proofreading and linguistic corrections and two anonymous reviewers for valuable input towards the improvement of the manuscript.
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