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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 583:107-120 (2017)  -  DOI:

Fungal root symbionts of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica in the central Adriatic Sea revealed by microscopy, culturing and 454-pyrosequencing

Martin Vohník1,2,*, Ondřej Borovec1,2, Ivan Župan3, Miroslav Kolařík4,5, Radka Sudová

1Department of Mycorrhizal Symbioses, Institute of Botany, Czech Academy of Sciences, Průhonice 25243, Czech Republic
2Department of Experimental Plant Biology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague 12843, Czech Republic
3Department of Ecology, Agronomy and Aquaculture, University of Zadar, Zadar 23000, Croatia
4Laboratory of Fungal Genetics and Metabolism, Institute of Microbiology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague 14220, Czech Republic
5Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague 12801, Czech Republic
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: A significant part of the hitherto unexplored fungal diversity is hidden in the marine environment. At the same time, plant tissues host endophytic communities often dominated by yet undescribed fungal lineages. Here we focused on the Mediterranean endemic seagrass Posidonia oceanica and screened its root mycobionts at 8 localities in the Croatian central Adriatic Sea using (stereo-)microscopy, culturing from surface-sterilized root segments and 454-pyrosequencing. Our microscopic observations revealed that roots from all investigated localities possessed the typical dark septate endophytic association recently reported in this seagrass in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea. Both culturing and pyrosequencing detected very narrow fungal communities lacking typical terrestrial root endophytes. Similarly to the NW Mediterranean, these were dominated by an undescribed slow-growing mycobiont from the Pleosporales (1 operational taxonomic unit [OTU]: ca. 92% of 430 total isolates, and 3 molecular OTUs [MOTUs]: ca. 91% of 382 fungal sequences) and also comprised 2 yet undescribed mycobionts from the Lulworthiales (2 OTUs: ca. 8% of isolates, and 2 MOTUs: ca. 1.8% of sequences). Such a narrow, single-species dominated root mycobiont spectrum is unusual for photoautotrophic vascular plants and indicates a close symbiotic relationship between the dominating pleosporalean mycobiont and the dominant Mediterranean seagrass. Additionally, the apparent lack of typical terrestrial root endophytic fungi as well as their probable substitution by the pleosporalean mycobiont so far not known from other hosts or ecosystems implies relatively long specific coevolution of both marine organisms.

KEY WORDS: Seagrasses · Marine fungi · Root-associated fungi · Dark septate endophytes · Pleosporales · Lulworthiales · Mediterranean Sea

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Cite this article as: Vohník M, Borovec O, Župan I, Kolařík M, Sudová R (2017) Fungal root symbionts of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica in the central Adriatic Sea revealed by microscopy, culturing and 454-pyrosequencing. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 583:107-120.

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