Title

Phylogenetic relationships and spatial distributions of putative fungal pathogens of seedlings across a rainfall gradient in Panama

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1-2017

Abstract

© 2017 Elsevier Ltd and British Mycological Society Despite their importance in structuring plant communities, the identities and spatial distributions of the pathogens impacting wild plant communities are largely unknown. To advance our knowledge of plant-pathogen interactions in tropical forests, I identified likely fungal pathogens from forest sites across a rainfall gradient in Panama and compared the communities of fungi inhabiting a wetter, Atlantic and a drier, Pacific forest (∼45 km apart). Seedlings with symptoms of pathogen attack were collected and fungi were isolated from the symptomatic tissue. Based on internal transcribed spacer region sequences, I assigned the fungal isolates to operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and estimated their taxonomic placements. I observed 28 OTUs (defined by 95% sequence similarity); primarily, the genera Mycoleptodiscus, Glomerella, Bionectria, Diaporthe, and Calonectria. The wetter, Atlantic and drier, Pacific forest sites shared 29% of observed and 56% of non-singleton fungal OTUs, suggesting that, in these forests, the common fungal pathogens of seedlings are relatively widespread, habitat generalists.

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