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Distance decay relationships in foliar fungal endophytes are driven by rare taxa


Oono, Ryoko; Lefevre, Emilie; Rasmussen, Anna (2017), Distance decay relationships in foliar fungal endophytes are driven by rare taxa, Text, https://doi.org/10.15146/R3QS34


Foliar fungal endophytes represent a diverse and species-rich plant microbiome. Their biogeography provides essential clues to their cryptic relationship with hosts and the environment in which they disperse. We present species composition, diversity, and dispersal patterns of endophytic fungi associated with needles of Pinus taeda trees across regional scales in the absence of strong environmental gradients as well as within individual trees. An empirical designation of rare and abundant taxa enlightens us on the structure of endophyte communities. We report multiple distance-decay patterns consistent with effects of dispersal limitation, largely driven by community changes in rare taxa, those taxonomic units that made up less than 0.31% of reads per sample on average. Distance-decay rates and community structure also depended on specific classes of fungi and were predominantly influenced by rare members of Dothideomycetes. Communities separated by urban areas also revealed stronger effects of distance on community similarity, suggesting that host density and diversity plays an important role in symbiont biogeography, which may ultimately lead to a mosaic of functional diversity as well as rare species diversity across landscapes.


The dataset represents operational taxonomic unit tables for foliar fungal endophytes collected from Pinus taeda needles in North Carolina. Data was collected with Illumina MiSeq and analyzed with various codes from R, Qiime, Usearch, MEGAN, and BLAST.