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Endophytic and Epiphytic Phyllosphere Fungal Communities Are Shaped by Different Environmental Factors in a Mediterranean Ecosystem

Abstract

The diversity and factors influencing fungal assemblages in phyllosphere of Mediterranean tree species have been barely studied, especially when endophytic and epiphytic communities are simultaneously considered. In this work, the endophytic and epiphytic fungal communities from olive tree phyllosphere were studied. This tree species is natural from the Mediterranean region and adapted to grow under adverse climatic conditions. The main objectives were to determine whether there are differences between both fungal communities and to examine whether different abiotic (climate-related) and biotic (plant organs) factors play a pivotal role in structuring these communities. Both communities differed in size and composition, with epiphytic community being richer and more abundant, displaying also a dominance of melanized fungi. Season was the major driver of community composition, especially of epiphytes. Other drivers shaping epiphytes were wind speed and temperature, while plant organ, rainfall, and temperature were the major drivers for endophytic composition. In contrast, canopy orientation caused slight variations in community composition of fungi, but with distinct effects in spring and autumn seasons. In conclusion, epiphytic and endophytic communities are not driven by the same factors. Several sources of variation undergo complex interactions to form and maintain phyllosphere fungal community in Mediterranean climates. Climatic parameters have influence on these fungal communities, suggesting that they are likely to be affected by climate changes in a near future.

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Acknowledgements

This work is funded by FEDER funds through COMPETE (Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade) and by national funds by FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia) within the framework of the project EXCL/AGR-PRO/0591/2012. T. Gomes thanks FCT, POPH-QREN, and FSE for PhD SFRH/BD/98127/2013 grant.

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Correspondence to Paula Baptista.

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Gomes, T., Pereira, J.A., Benhadi, J. et al. Endophytic and Epiphytic Phyllosphere Fungal Communities Are Shaped by Different Environmental Factors in a Mediterranean Ecosystem. Microb Ecol 76, 668–679 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00248-018-1161-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00248-018-1161-9

Keywords

  • Climatic factors
  • Fungal community structure
  • Olea europaea L.
  • Organ specificity
  • Seasonal patterns