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Abstract Detail

Organisms as Ecosystems: Exploring the Microbiome of Plants

Flores Renterķa, Lluvia Hilda [1], Sthultz, Christopher M. [2], Flores-Renterķa, Dulce [3], Whipple, Amy V. [1], Whitham, Thomas G. [4], Gehring, Catherine [4].

Genetic and environmental determinants of the microbiome of a foundation tree species, Pinus edulis.

The positive impact of plant-associated fungi on the performance of their host plants is increasingly recognized, yet comparatively little is known about the environmental factors that influence the abundance and species composition of that microbiome. Moreover, plant-microbe interactions may be particularly important as climate changes, especially those involving symbionts like mycorrhizal fungi that provide plants with access to limiting soil resources. We used Pinus edulis (pinyon pine) as a model species to evaluate the influence of plant genetic variation and drought on the composition of the ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungal community. We sampled EM fungal communities of a wild stand of P. edulis composed of trees that were either insect resistant & drought intolerant or insect susceptible & drought tolerant at three periods across 16 years that varied in drought severity. We experimentally manipulated fungal inoculum source and drought using seedlings from insect resistant and susceptible trees to examine how plant genetic variation affected plant performance during drought. We found that: 1) microbial community composition was strongly influenced by intraspecific genetic variation, 2) EM fungal communities of susceptible trees remained relatively constant as climate became more arid, while those of resistant trees changed substantially, demonstrating a gene by environment interaction, 3) EM fungal communities of resistant trees shifted toward susceptible communities over time, with both types of trees eventually being highly colonized by previously undescribed members of the genus Geopora, 4) susceptible seedlings in the greenhouse and mature trees in the field with a microbiome dominated by species of Geopora grew 25% better under dry conditions. Agreement between field and greenhouse studies argues that plant genetic-microbial community interactions influence plant responses to climate change.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Northern Arizona University, Biological Science, South Beaver Street, Bldg 21, Room 227, Flagstaff, AZ, 86011-5694, USA
2 - University of Minnesota, Department of Math, Science and Technology, Crookston, MN, 56716, USA
3 - Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales-CSIC C Serrano, 115 dup, Madrid, 28006, Spain
4 - Northern Arizona University, Department of Biological Sciences, BOX 5640, Flagstaff, AZ, 86011, USA

ectomycorrhizal fungi
Climate Change
plant genetics
species interactions
foundation species.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: C8
Location: Rosedown/Riverside Hilton
Date: Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
Time: 8:15 AM
Number: C8001
Abstract ID:454
Candidate for Awards:None

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