2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

Root Associated Fungal Communities of Bouteloua gracilis: Biogeographic Variations Across North American Grasslands
Hana H. Khidir
Dr. Jose Herrera, Faculty Mentor

Studies examining fungal communities colonizing blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) inhabiting semiarid regions indicate colonization by a core group of root associated fungi (RAF), predominantly dark septate endophytes (DSE). We are interested in examining the level of consistency and geographic distribution of RAF communities within this important forage grass. Consequently, we compared the RAF community of B. gracilis collected from six sites along its latitudinal range: from central Mexico to Canada. RAF were identified by sequencing of the fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) rDNA from roots. Pair-wise comparisons among the RAF communities between each of the sites indicate a negative correlation between RAF community similarity and site inter-distance. However, although varying in abundance within each site, several RAF genera were represented in many or all sites, including Paraphaeospheria (a DSE genus obtained from all sites), Moniliophthora, Fusarium, and Monosporascus. We suggest that these consistent endophytes could serve an important ecological role.

Keywords: Bouteloua gracilis, root associated fungi, dark septate endophytes, plant-microbe interactions, grasslands, biogeography , ecological genomics, mycorrhizal fungi

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 10-3
Location: VH 1408
Time: 8:45

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