2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

Comparison of mycorrhizal fungal communities in Achnatherum hymenoides and Bouteloua gracilis in the Chihuahuan desert
Haleigh J. White
Dr. Jose Herrera, Faculty Mentor

Dark septate endophytes (DSEs) are a miscellaneous group of ascomycetous anamorphic fungi that colonize root tissues. The relationship between plants and DSEs can be either parasitic or mutualistic. DSEs appear to aid in the acquisition of nutrients and water uptake, increased pathogen resistance and an overall improvement in host growth and reproduction. Due to their function, this would make dark septate endophytes extremely beneficial in arid environments. This experiment was conducted in the Chihuahuan desert located in Sevilleta, NM. The purpose was to compare the mycorrhizal fungal communities of Achnatherum hymenoides (C3 grass) and Bouteloua gracilis (C4 grass). We suspected that because C4 grasses have improved water use efficiency and are comparatively more successful in arid climates, they would harbor larger or different concentrations of DSEs. Preliminary results, however, suggest that the roots of A. hymenoides contain comparable numbers of both DSEs and hyaline in comparison to B. gracilis .

Keywords: Dark Septate Endophyte, fungi, Achnatherum hymenoides , Bouteloua gracilis , C3 grass, C4 grass, arid environment, desert

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 58-4
Location: MG 2001
Time: 3:30

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