As self-supporting and long-living symbiotic structures, lichens provide a habitat for many other organisms beside the traditionally considered lichen symbionts—the myco- and the photobionts. The lichen-inhabiting fungi either develop diagnostic phenotypes or occur asymptomatically. Because the degree of specificity towards the lichen host is poorly known, we studied the diversity of these fungi among neighbouring lichens on rocks in an alpine habitat. Using a sequencing metabarcoding approach, we show that lichen mycobiomes clearly reflect the overlap of multiple ecological sets of taxa, which differ in their trophic association with lichen thalli. The lack of specificity to the lichen mycobiome is further supported by the lack of community structure observed using clustering and ordination methods. The communities encountered across samples largely result from the subsampling of a shared species pool, in which we identify three major ecological components: (i) a generalist environmental pool, (ii) a lichenicolous/endolichenic pool and (iii) a pool of transient species. These taxa majorly belong to the fungal classes Dothideomycetes, Eurotiomycetes and Tremellomycetes with close relatives in adjacent ecological niches. We found no significant evidence that the phenotypically recognized lichenicolous fungi influence the occurrence of the other asymptomatic fungi in the host thalli. We claim that lichens work as suboptimal habitats or as a complex spore and mycelium bank, which modulate and allow the regeneration of local fungal communities. By performing an approach that minimizes ambiguities in the taxonomic assignments of fungi, we present how lichen mycobiomes are also suitable Targets for improving bioinformatic analyses of fungal metabarcoding.

ITS1 metabarcoding highlights low specificity of lichen mycobiomes at local scale

Lucia Muggia
2017-01-01

Abstract

As self-supporting and long-living symbiotic structures, lichens provide a habitat for many other organisms beside the traditionally considered lichen symbionts—the myco- and the photobionts. The lichen-inhabiting fungi either develop diagnostic phenotypes or occur asymptomatically. Because the degree of specificity towards the lichen host is poorly known, we studied the diversity of these fungi among neighbouring lichens on rocks in an alpine habitat. Using a sequencing metabarcoding approach, we show that lichen mycobiomes clearly reflect the overlap of multiple ecological sets of taxa, which differ in their trophic association with lichen thalli. The lack of specificity to the lichen mycobiome is further supported by the lack of community structure observed using clustering and ordination methods. The communities encountered across samples largely result from the subsampling of a shared species pool, in which we identify three major ecological components: (i) a generalist environmental pool, (ii) a lichenicolous/endolichenic pool and (iii) a pool of transient species. These taxa majorly belong to the fungal classes Dothideomycetes, Eurotiomycetes and Tremellomycetes with close relatives in adjacent ecological niches. We found no significant evidence that the phenotypically recognized lichenicolous fungi influence the occurrence of the other asymptomatic fungi in the host thalli. We claim that lichens work as suboptimal habitats or as a complex spore and mycelium bank, which modulate and allow the regeneration of local fungal communities. By performing an approach that minimizes ambiguities in the taxonomic assignments of fungi, we present how lichen mycobiomes are also suitable Targets for improving bioinformatic analyses of fungal metabarcoding.
2017
24-ago-2017
Pubblicato
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2916531
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