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Tissue age and tree age effects on endophyte species abundance of Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) in an ancient semi-natural woodland in Scotlandom

Joanne E. Taylor, Christopher Ellis, Richard Ennos & Peter Hollingsworth

Sydowia 71: 35-46

Published online on June 6th, 2019

Fungal endophytes were isolated from surface sterilised needles of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) from a native pine forest in east Scotland. Trees were sampled in January and September (2012 to 2014) and the dominant endophytes were Cenangium ferruginosum (30.9 % of all isolates), Lophodermium pinastri (24.5 %), L. seditiosum (19.1 %), L. conigenum (14.9 %) and rare, unidentified species (10.6 %). There was a statistically significant difference in the abundance of isolates for each of these endophyte groups in tissues, showing an increase as the needles age. Tree age had a variable influence on isolate abundance, but significant differences were demonstrated with a lower abundance of C. ferruginosum in seedlings, and for L. seditiosum in adult trees. A maximum parsimony analysis of sequences of Lophodermium pinastri showed the presence of two known cryptic species, but their ecological traits could not be distinguished. Overall this baseline study provides foundation data on patterns of diversity and abundance in endophyte communities of Scots pine in Scotland for comparison in subsequent isolation and meta-barcoding studies.

Keywords: Cenangium ferruginosum, forestry, latent pathogens, Lophodermium pinastri, Lophodermium seditiosum.

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