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Open AccessArticle

Phragmites australis Associates with Belowground Fungal Communities Characterized by High Diversity and Pathogen Abundance

1
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
2
School of Science, Applied Chemistry and Environmental Science, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia
3
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Centre for Integrative Ecology, Faculty of Science & Built Environment, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC 3125, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090363
Received: 4 August 2020 / Revised: 17 September 2020 / Accepted: 18 September 2020 / Published: 22 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity)
Microbial symbionts are gaining attention as crucial drivers of invasive species spread and dominance. To date, much research has quantified the net effects of plant–microbe interactions on the relative success of native and invasive species. However, little is known about how the structure (composition and diversity) of microbial symbionts can differ among native and invasive species, or vary across the invasive landscape. Here, we explore the structure of endosphere and soil fungal communities associated with a monoculture-forming widespread invader, Phragmites australis, and co-occurring native species. Using field survey data from marshes in coastal Louisiana, we tested three hypotheses: (1) Phragmites australis root and soil fungal communities differ from that of co-occurring natives, (2) Phragmites australis monocultures harbor distinct fungal communities at the expanding edge compared to the monodominant center, and (3) proximity to the P. australis invading front alters native root endosphere and soil fungal community structure. We found that P. australis cultivates root and soil fungal communities with higher richness, diversity, and pathogen abundances compared to native species. While P. australis was found to have higher endosphere pathogen abundances at its expanding edge compared to the monodominant center, we found no evidence of compositional changes or pathogen spillover in native species in close proximity to the invasion front. This work suggests that field measurements of fungal endosphere communities in native and invasive plants are useful to help understand (or rule out) mechanisms of invasion. View Full-Text
Keywords: invasion; microbes; endosphere; endophytes; pathogens; fungi; Phragmites; haplotype I; gulf haplotype; coastal marsh invasion; microbes; endosphere; endophytes; pathogens; fungi; Phragmites; haplotype I; gulf haplotype; coastal marsh
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schroeder, C.S.; Halbrook, S.; Birnbaum, C.; Waryszak, P.; Wilber, W.; Farrer, E.C. Phragmites australis Associates with Belowground Fungal Communities Characterized by High Diversity and Pathogen Abundance. Diversity 2020, 12, 363.

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