|Forest vegetation types reflect elevation and climatic effects on endophyte communities in Taiwan
| AMC2019, Asian Mycology in Mie, Region of Nature and Tradition
|Ascomycota; biodiversity; community ecology; elevation gradients; plant microbiome
|Purpose: Fungal endophytes are fungi inhabit in plants without causing any symptoms. Class 3 endophytes usually grow in the aboveground tissues and globally distribute in all known plants. Taiwan is an island located at the boundary of subtropics and tropics, and the large elevation differences result in diverse plant communities. Hence, the highly diverse endophytes on the island could be expected. This study aimed to examine the endophyte diversity in Taiwan and to understand the relationships among endophytes, plants and environments.
Methods: Foliar endophytes were isolated from representative gymnosperms and Rhododendron spp. across different vegetation types in the forests of Hehuanshan and Taipingshan in Taiwan. Based on the similarity of ITS sequences and the preliminary phylogenetic analyses, the diversity and community structures of endophytes in different locations, altitudes, vegetation types and host plants were assessed. In addition, the representative isolates were queried to the public databases to discover the potentially unknown species of fungi in Taiwan.
Results: All isolates belong to Ascomycota, and most of them are Sordariomycetes. The ecological analyses show the isolation frequency and diversity of endophytes decrease as the elevation increases, and the taxonomic composition, isolation frequency and diversity of endophytes differ as a function of host families and vegetation types. In addition to the host effects, vegetation types explain the integrated effects of elevation and climatic gradients on endophyte community structures.
Conclusions: This study represents the close relationships of host plants, environments, and endophyte communities. Fungal endophytes are important resources for discovery the fungal diversity of Taiwan.