Presentation Title

Fungal Endophytes and Surface Pathogens in the Lodgepole Pine Dwarf Mistletoe (Arceuthobium americanum) and its Lodgepole Pine (Pinus Contorta subspecies latifolia) Host

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented Friday March 31, 2017

Abstract

The lodgepole pine dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium americanum Nutt. ex Engelm.) is a parasite infecting coniferous forests in North America. This parasite obtains water, nutrients, and photosynthate from its host, the lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta subsp. latifolia Engelm.), via a system of root-like tissues that penetrate the host’s cortex and vasculature. Mistletoe infections reduce conifer growth, reproductive fitness, and wood quality, which negatively affects the timber industry. Earlier work has indicated that endophytic fungi and fungal surface pathogens are associated with A. americanum. There is no evidence that fungal endophytes are pathogenic; in fact, previous research has indicated that endophytes may protect the mistletoe from other pathogenic fungi. Additionally, the degree to which fungal endophytes and fungal pathogens are shared between the mistletoe and the pine has not been explicitly determined. This study aims to examine the relationship of endophytic and pathogenic fungi found associated with both the dwarf mistletoe and the lodgepole pine. A. americanum shoots and lodgepole pine needles were collected in Stake Lake, B.C. and cultured onto potato dextrose agar. Fungal colonies were subcultured and incubated at 25.0°C for two weeks. Fungal pathogens and endophytes were initially identified by morphological characterization and spore analysis via scanning electron microscopy. Confirmation of fungal identities is currently being carried out by sequencing at Macrogen Inc. Preliminary results indicate that Cladosporium cladosporioides (Fresen.) G.A. de Vries is associated with both A. americanum and its pine host. Further work aims to determine if there is a common vascular conduit between any internally shared fungi.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Cynthia Ross Friedman

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Fungal Endophytes and Surface Pathogens in the Lodgepole Pine Dwarf Mistletoe (Arceuthobium americanum) and its Lodgepole Pine (Pinus Contorta subspecies latifolia) Host

The lodgepole pine dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium americanum Nutt. ex Engelm.) is a parasite infecting coniferous forests in North America. This parasite obtains water, nutrients, and photosynthate from its host, the lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta subsp. latifolia Engelm.), via a system of root-like tissues that penetrate the host’s cortex and vasculature. Mistletoe infections reduce conifer growth, reproductive fitness, and wood quality, which negatively affects the timber industry. Earlier work has indicated that endophytic fungi and fungal surface pathogens are associated with A. americanum. There is no evidence that fungal endophytes are pathogenic; in fact, previous research has indicated that endophytes may protect the mistletoe from other pathogenic fungi. Additionally, the degree to which fungal endophytes and fungal pathogens are shared between the mistletoe and the pine has not been explicitly determined. This study aims to examine the relationship of endophytic and pathogenic fungi found associated with both the dwarf mistletoe and the lodgepole pine. A. americanum shoots and lodgepole pine needles were collected in Stake Lake, B.C. and cultured onto potato dextrose agar. Fungal colonies were subcultured and incubated at 25.0°C for two weeks. Fungal pathogens and endophytes were initially identified by morphological characterization and spore analysis via scanning electron microscopy. Confirmation of fungal identities is currently being carried out by sequencing at Macrogen Inc. Preliminary results indicate that Cladosporium cladosporioides (Fresen.) G.A. de Vries is associated with both A. americanum and its pine host. Further work aims to determine if there is a common vascular conduit between any internally shared fungi.