Mycobiomes of young beech trees are distinguished by organ rather than by habitat, and community analyses suggest competitive interactions among twig fungi
Front. Microbiol. 2021, Provisionally accepted
Siddique AB, Paolo Biella P, Unterseher M, Albrectsen BR

Beech trees (Fagus sylvatica) are prominent keystone species of great economic and environmental value for central Europe, hosting a diverse mycobiome. The composition of endophyte communities may depend on tree health, plant organ or tissue, and growth habitat. To evaluate mycobiome communalities at local scales, buds and twigs were sampled from two young healthy mountain beech stands in Bavaria, Germany four kilometres apart. With Illumina high-throughput sequencing, we found 113 fungal taxa from 0.7 million high-quality reads that mainly consisted of Ascomycota (52%) and Basidiomycota (26%) taxa. Significant correlations between richness and diversity indices were observed (p < 0.05), and mycobiomes did not differ between habitats in the current study. Species richness and diversity were higher in twigs compared to spring buds, and the assemblages in twigs shared most similarities. Interaction network analyses revealed that twig-bound fungi shared similar numbers of (interaction) links with others, dominated by negative co-occurrences, suggesting that competitive exclusion may be the predominant ecological interaction in the highly connected twig-mycobiome. Combining community and network analyses strengthened the evidence that plant organs may filter endophytic communities directly through colonisation access and indirectly by facilitating competitive interactions between the fungi.

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