Diversity and composition of the leaf mycobiome of beech (Fagus sylvatica) are affected by local habitat conditions and leaf biochemistry

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Abstract

Comparative investigations of plant-associated fungal communities (mycobiomes) in distinct habitats and under distinct climate regimes have been rarely conducted in the past. Nowadays, high-throughput sequencing allows routine examination of mycobiome responses to environmental changes and results at an unprecedented level of detail. In the present study, we analysed Illumina-generated fungal ITS1 sequences from European beech (Fagus sylvatica) originating from natural habitats at two different altitudes in the German Alps and from a managed tree nursery in northern Germany. In general, leaf-inhabiting mycobiome diversity and composition correlated significantly with the origin of the trees. Under natural condition the mycobiome was more diverse at lower than at higher elevation, whereas fungal diversity was lowest in the artificial habitat of the tree nursery. We further identified significant correlation of leaf chlorophylls and flavonoids with both habitat parameters and mycobiome biodiversity. The present results clearly point towards a pronounced importance of local stand conditions for the structure of beech leaf mycobiomes and for a close interrelation of phyllosphere fungi and leaf physiology.

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Unterseher, M., Siddique, A. B., Brachmann, A., & Peršoh, D. (2016). Diversity and composition of the leaf mycobiome of beech (Fagus sylvatica) are affected by local habitat conditions and leaf biochemistry. PLoS ONE, 11(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0152878

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