In food-deceptive orchids of the genera Anacamptis, Neotinea and Orchis floral isolation has been shown to be weak, whereas late-acting reproductive barriers are mostly strong, often restricting hybridization to the F1 generation. Only in a few species hybridization extends beyond the F1 generation, giving rise to hybrid swarms. However, little is known about the abundance of later-generation hybrids and what factors drive their occurrence in hybrid populations. In this study, molecular analyses were combined with detailed morphological measurements in a hybrid population of two closely related Orchis species (Orchis militaris and O. purpurea) to investigate the hypothesis that the abundance of later-generation hybrids is driven by changes in floral characters after hybridization that exert selective pressures that in turn affect hybridization.
Both the molecular and morphological data point to extensive genetic and morphological homogenization and asymmetric introgression. Estimating genomic clines from the multi-locus genotype data and testing for deviation from neutrality revealed that 30 out of 113 (27%) AFLP markers significantly deviated from neutral expectations. Plants with large floral displays or plant with flowers that resembled more O. purpurea had higher female fitness than plants with small floral displays or plants with flowers resembling more O. militaris, suggesting that directional selection may have contributed to the observed patterns of introgression.
These results indicate that in closely related orchid species hybridization and gene introgression may be partly driven by selection for floral traits of one of the parental types. However, because some pure individuals were still present in the studied population, the parental species appeared to be sufficiently isolated to survive the challenge of sympatry.
Admixture; Hybrid swarm; Orchis; Orchidaceae; Reproductive isolation
Background and Aims
To date, current research involving pollen viability has been evaluated in a relatively low number of orchid species. In the present study, we focused on five related Mediterranean orchid genera (Anacamptis, Orchis, Dactylorhiza, Ophrys and Serapias) that are characterized by different types of deceptive pollination.
The in vitro germination ability of increasingly aged pollinaria of eight food-, seven sexually and two shelter-deceptive species was evaluated. Pollination experiments on two food-, one sexually and one shelter-deceptive species were also performed and the percentage of embryonate seeds derived from the increasingly aged pollinaria was checked.
All of the examined species showed long-term viabilities (=50 % pollen tube growth) that ranged from 8 to 35 d. Species with the same deceptive pollination strategies exhibited the same pollen viability trends. Interestingly, pollen viabilities of species groups with different deception types have shown significant differences, with sexually and shelter- deceptive species exhibiting a shorter life span than food-deceptive species.
This study confirms the prolonged germination and fertilization capacities of orchid pollinaria, and to our knowledge is the first report demonstrating a clear relationship between pollen viability and pollination system. It is proposed that this relationship is attributed to the different types of reproductive barriers, pre- or post-zygotic, that characterixe Ophrys and Serapias and the food-deceptive species, respectively.
Anacamptis; Dactylorhiza; fruit set; Ophrys; Orchis; pollen tube; pollination strategy; seed; Serapias
Background and Aims
Mycorrhizal fungi play a vital role in providing a carbon subsidy to support the germination and establishment of orchids from tiny seeds, but their roles in adult orchids have not been adequately characterized. Recent evidence that carbon is supplied by Goodyera repens to its fungal partner in return for nitrogen has established the mutualistic nature of the symbiosis in this orchid. In this paper the role of the fungus in the capture and transfer of inorganic phosphorus (P) to the orchid is unequivocally demonstrated for the first time.
Mycorrhiza-mediated uptake of phosphorus in G. repens was investigated using spatially separated, two-dimensional agar-based microcosms.
External mycelium growing from this green orchid is shown to be effective in assimilating and transporting the radiotracer 33P orthophosphate into the plant. After 7 d of exposure, over 10 % of the P supplied was transported over a diffusion barrier by the fungus and to the plants, more than half of this to the shoots.
Conclusions Goodyera repens
can obtain significant amounts of P from its mycorrhizal partner. These results provide further support for the view that mycorrhizal associations in some adult green orchids are mutualistic.
33P; phosphate; Goodyera repens; myco-heterotrophy; mineral nutrition; orchid; mycorrhizal networks
Orchid species rely on mycorrhizal symbioses with fungi to complete their life cycle. Although there is mounting evidence that orchids can associate with several fungi from different clades or families, less is known about the actual geographic distribution of these fungi and how they are distributed across different orchid species within a genus.
We investigated among-population variation in mycorrhizal associations in five species of the genus Dactylorhiza (D. fuchsii, D. incarnata, D. maculata, D. majalis and D. praetermissa) using culture-independent detection and identification techniques enabling simultaneous detection of multiple fungi in a single individual. Mycorrhizal specificity, determined as the number of fungal operational taxonomic units (OTUs), and phylogenetic diversity of fungi were compared between species, whereas discriminant analysis was used to compare mycorrhizal spectra across populations and species. Based on a 95% cut-off value in internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequence similarity, a total of ten OTUs was identified belonging to three different clades within the Tulasnellaceae. Most OTUs were found in two or more Dactylorhiza species, and some of them were common and widespread, occurring in more than 50% of all sampled populations. Each orchid species associated with at least five different OTUs, whereas most individuals also associated with two or more fungal OTUs at the same time. Phylogenetic diversity, corrected for species richness, was not significantly different between species, confirming the generality of the observed orchid mycorrhizal associations.
We found that the investigated species of the genus Dactylorhiza associated with a wide range of fungal OTUs from the Tulasnellaceae, some of which were widespread and common. These findings challenge the idea that orchid rarity is related to mycorrhizal specificity and fungal distribution.
Pollinator specificity has traditionally been considered the main reproductive isolation mechanism in orchids. Among Mediterranean orchids, however, many species attract and deceive pollinators by mimicking nectar-rewarding plants. To test the extent to which deceptive orchid species share pollinators, we collected and identified hemipollinaria-carrying insects, and used ribosomal sequences to identify the orchid species from which hemipollinaria were removed. We found that social and solitary bees, and also flies, carried hemipollinaria belonging to nine orchid species with different degrees of specialization. In particular, Anacamptis morio, Dactylorhiza romana and Orchis mascula used a large set of pollinator species, whereas others such as Orchis quadripunctata seemed to be pollinated by one pollinator species only. Out of the insects with hemipollinaria, 19% were found to carry hemipollinaria from more than one orchid species, indicating that sympatric food-deceptive orchids can share pollinators. This sharing was apparent even among orchid sister-species, thus revealing an effective overlap in pollinator sets among closely related species. These results suggest varying degrees of pollinator specificity in these orchids, and indicate that pollinator specificity cannot always act as the main isolation mechanism in food-deceptive temperate orchids.
bees; hemipollinaria; nuclear rDNA internal transcribed spacer; pollination; orchids; reproductive isolation
Two sorghum cultivars: the Striga-tolerant S-35 and the Striga-sensitive CK60-B were grown with or without arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, and with or without phosphorus addition. At 24 and 45 days after sowing (DAS) of sorghum, root exudates were collected and tested for effects on germination of preconditioned Striga hermonthica seeds. Root exudates from AM sorghum plants induced lower germination of S. hermonthica seeds than exudates from non-mycorrhizal sorghum. The magnitude of this effect depended on the cultivar and harvest time. A significantly (88–97%) lower germination of S. hermonthica seeds upon exposure to root exudates from AM S-35 plants was observed at both harvest times whereas for AM inoculated CK60-B plants a significantly (41%) lower germination was observed only at 45 DAS. The number of S. hermonthica seedlings attached to and emerged on both sorghum cultivars were also lower in mycorrhizal than in non-mycorrhizal plants. Again, this reduction was more pronounced with S-35 than with CK60-B plants. There was no effect of phosphorus addition on Striga seed germination, attachment or emergence. We hypothesize that the negative effect of mycorrhizal colonization on Striga germination and on subsequent attachment and emergence is mediated through the production of signaling molecules (strigolactones) for AM fungi and parasitic plants.
arbuscular mycorrhiza; root exudate; sorghum; striga; strigolactones; germination
Coelogyne nervosa is an epiphytic orchid endemic to Western Ghats, South India. The mature seeds of C. nervosa were cultured on ½ MS (Murashige and Skoog), MS, Kn (Knudson) and VW (Vacin and Went) media to evaluate the seed germination response. Of the four basal media used, MS medium supported maximum seed germination. Further experiments to enhance seed germination were done on MS medium supplemented with various concentrations (10, 20, 30 and 40 %) of coconut water (CW). Thirty percent CW gave the highest response in terms of percent seed germination (96), fresh weight (7.2 mg/seedling) and protocorm length (15.2 mm). Since CW containing medium did not support further seedling growth, each seedling was isolated and cultured on MS medium supplemented with either BA (6-benzylaminopurine) or Kin (kinetin) alone (1.0–4.0 mg/l each) or in combination with NAA (1-naphthaleneacetic acid; 0.2–1.0 mg/l). Maximum growth was observed on MS medium supplemented with BA (3.0 mg/l) and NAA (0.5 mg/l). On this medium, the seedlings reached an average length of 3.6 cm with 2.8 well expanded green leaves per seedling. Similarly optimum, healthy, white root induction (3.3 roots/seedlings) was also observed on the same medium. The rooted seedlings were successfully transplanted to pots with 91 % success. The 2-year-old tissue culture derived plants produced normal flowers and fruits.
Coelogyne nervosa; Epiphytic orchid; Micropropagation; Seedlings; Tissue culture
Disruptive selection on habitat or host-specificity has contributed to the diversification of several animal groups, especially plant-feeding insects. Photosynthetic plants typically associate with a broad range of mycorrhizal fungi, while non-photosynthetic plants that capture energy from mycorrhizal fungi ('mycoheterotrophs') are often specialized towards particular taxa. Sister myco-heterotroph species are often specialized towards different fungal taxa, suggesting rapid evolutionary shifts in specificity. Within-species variation in specificity has not been explored. Here, we tested whether genetic variation for mycorrhizal specificity occurs within the myco-heterotrophic orchid Corallorhiza maculata. Variation across three single-nucleotide polymorphisms revealed six multilocus genotypes across 122 orchids from 30 sites. These orchids were associated with 22 different fungal species distributed across the Russulaceae (ectomycorrhizal basidiomycetes) according to internal-transcribed-spacer sequence analysis. The fungi associated with four out of the six orchid genotypes fell predominantly within distinct subclades of the Russulaceae. This result was supported by Monte Carlo simulation and analyses of molecular variance of fungal sequence diversity. Different orchid genotypes were often found growing in close proximity, but maintained their distinct fungal associations. Similar patterns are characteristic of insect populations diversifying onto multiple hosts. We suggest that diversification and specialization of mycorrhizal associations have contributed to the rapid radiation of the Orchidaceae.
Mycoheterotrophic plants are achlorophyllous plants that obtain carbon from their mycorrhizal fungi. They are usually considered to associate with fungi that are (1) specific of each mycoheterotrophic species and (2) mycorrhizal on surrounding green plants, which are the ultimate carbon source of the entire system. Here we review recent works revealing that some mycoheterotrophic plants are not fungal-specific, and that some mycoheterotrophic orchids associate with saprophytic fungi. A re-examination of earlier data suggests that lower specificity may be less rare than supposed in mycoheterotrophic plants. Association between mycoheterotrophic orchids and saprophytic fungi arose several times in the evolution of the two partners. We speculate that this indirectly illustrates why transition from saprotrophy to mycorrhizal status is common in fungal evolution. Moreover, some unexpected fungi occasionally encountered in plant roots should not be discounted as ‘molecular scraps’, since these facultatively biotrophic encounters may evolve into mycorrhizal symbionts in some other plants.
endophytic fungi; evolution of mycorrhizae; mycoheterophy; mycorrhizae; saprophytic fungi; specificity
In the life cycle of higher plants, seed development is a key process connecting two distinct sporophytic generations. Seed development can be divided into embryo morphogenesis and seed maturation. An essential metabolic function of maturing seeds is the deposition of storage compounds that are mobilised to fuel post-germinative seedling growth. Given the importance of seeds for food and animal feed and considering the tremendous interest in using seed storage products as sustainable industrial feedstocks to replace diminishing fossil reserves, understanding the metabolic and developmental control of seed filling constitutes a major focus of plant research. Arabidopsis thaliana is an oilseed species closely related to the agronomically important Brassica oilseed crops. The main storage compounds accumulated in seeds of A. thaliana consist of oil stored as triacylglycerols (TAGs) and seed storage proteins (SSPs). Extensive tools developed for the molecular dissection of A. thaliana development and metabolism together with analytical and cytological procedures adapted for very small seeds have led to a good description of the biochemical pathways producing storage compounds. In recent years, studies using these tools have shed new light on the intricate regulatory network controlling the seed maturation process. This network involves sugar and hormone signalling together with a set of developmentally regulated transcription factors. Although much remains to be elucidated, the framework of the regulatory system controlling seed filling is coming into focus.
Arabidopsis; seed maturation; triacylglycerols (TAGs); seed storage proteins (SSPs)
In the mycorrhizal symbiosis, plants exchange photosynthates for mineral nutrients acquired by fungi from the soil. This mutualistic arrangement has been subverted by hundreds of mycorrhizal plant species that lack the ability to photosynthesize. The most numerous examples of this behaviour are found in the largest plant family, the Orchidaceae. Although these non-photosynthetic orchid species are known to be highly specialized exploiters of the ectomycorrhizal symbiosis, photosynthetic orchids are thought to use free-living saprophytic, or pathogenic, fungal lineages. However, we present evidence that putatively photosynthetic orchids from five species which grow in the understorey of forests: (i) form mycorrhizas with ectomycorrhizal fungi of forest trees; and (ii) have stable isotope signatures indicating distinctive pathways for nitrogen and carbon acquisition approaching those of non-photosynthetic orchids that associate with ectomycorrhizal fungi of forest trees. These findings represent a major shift in our understanding of both orchid ecology and evolution because they explain how orchids can thrive in low-irradiance niches and they show that a shift to exploiting ectomycorrhizal fungi precedes viable losses of photosynthetic ability in orchid lineages.
Background and Aims
Silene dioica and S. latifolia experience only limited introgression despite overlapping flowering phenologies, geographical distributions, and some pollinator sharing. Conspecific pollen precedence and other reproductive barriers operating between pollination and seed germination may limit hybridization. This study investigates whether barriers at this stage contribute to reproductive isolation between these species and, if so, which mechanisms are responsible.
Pollen-tube lengths for pollen of both species in styles of both species were compared. Additionally, both species were pollinated with majority S. latifolia and majority S. dioica pollen mixes; then seed set, seed germination rates and hybridity of the resulting seedlings were determined using species-specific molecular markers.
The longest pollen tubes were significantly longer for conspecific than heterospecific pollen in both species, indicating conspecific pollen precedence. Seed set but not seed germination was lower for flowers pollinated with pure heterospecific versus pure conspecific pollen. Mixed-species pollinations resulted in disproportionately high representation of nonhybrid offspring for pollinations of S. latifolia but not S. dioica flowers.
The finding of conspecific pollen precedence for pollen-tube growth but not seed siring in S. dioica flowers may be explained by variation in pollen-tube growth rates, either at different locations in the style or between leading and trailing pollen tubes. Additionally, this study finds a barrier to hybridization operating between pollination and seed germination against S. dioica but not S. latifolia pollen. The results are consistent with the underlying cause of this barrier being attrition of S. dioica pollen tubes or reduced success of heterospecifically fertilized ovules, rather than time-variant mechanisms. Post-pollination, pre-germination barriers to hybridization thus play a partial role in limiting introgression between these species.
Conspecific pollen precedence; hybridization; pollen tubes; reproductive isolation; Silene dioica; Silene latifolia
Mediterranean orchids of the subtribe Orchidinae are highly diverse and display a range of fascinating pollination strategies. Based on observations that orchid-pollinator relationships are often highly specialized and species specific, Darwin and others have argued that selection for different pollinators has been the driving force behind the evolutionary diversification of orchids. This may be true for orchids that attract different, specialized pollinators that act as prezygotic reproductive barriers. It is, however, not clear how closely related co-flowering Mediterranean orchids that share pollinators survive the challenge of sympatry. We show that species pairs with a generalized pool of pollinators have significantly more divergent karyotypes compared with species pairs with different pollinators. These results show that karyotype differences that act as postzygotic reproductive barriers may have played an important role in the evolution of Mediterranean orchid diversity.
Broomrapes (Orobanche and Phelipanche spp) are parasitic plants responsible for important crop losses, and efficient procedures to control these pests are scarce. Biological control is one of the possible strategies to tackle these pests. Arbuscular Mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are widespread soil microorganisms that live symbiotically with the roots of most plant species, and they have already been tested on sorghum for their ability to reduce infestation by witchweeds, another kind of parasitic plants. In this work AM fungi were evaluated as potential biocontrol agents against Orobanche cumana, a broomrape species that specifically attacks sunflower. When inoculated simultaneously with O. cumana seeds, AM fungi could offer a moderate level of protection against the broomrape. Interestingly, this protection did not only rely on a reduced production of parasitic seed germination stimulants, as was proposed in previous studies. Rather, mycorrhizal root exudates had a negative impact on the germination of O. cumana induced by germination stimulants. A similar effect could be obtained with AM spore exudates, establishing the fungal origin of at least part of the active compounds. Together, our results demonstrate that AM fungi themselves can lead to a reduced rate of parasitic seed germination, in addition to possible effects mediated by the mycorrhizal plant. Combined with the other benefits of AM symbiosis, these effects make AM fungi an attractive option for biological control of O. cumana.
Mycorrhizal fungi form a mutualistic relationship with the roots of most plant species. This association provides the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus with sugars while the fungus improves the uptake of water and mineral nutrients in the host plant. Moreover, the induction of defense gene expression in mycorrhizal roots has been described. While salicylic acid (SA)-regulated Pathogenesis-Related (PR) proteins accumulate in rice roots colonized by the AM fungus G. intraradices , the SA content is not significantly altered in the mycorrhizal roots. Sugars, in addition to being a source of carbon for the fungus, might act as signals for the control of defense gene expression. We hypothesize that increased demands for sugars by the fungus might be responsible for the activation of the host defense responses which will then contribute to the stabilization of root colonization by the AM fungus. An excessive root colonization might change a mutualistic association into a parasitic association.
Glomus intraradices; glucose; fructose; Oryza sativa; pathogenesis-related (PR); salicylic acid (SA); sucrose; sugars
Sex-specific interactions with herbivores and pollinators have been observed in female and male plants of dioecious species. However, only a limited number of studies have revised sex-specific patterns in mycorrhizal symbiosis. To test whether female and male plants of Antennaria dioica differ in their relationship with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, we examined the temporal and spatial variation in AM fungi in female, male and non-reproductive A. dioica plants in three natural populations in Finland during flowering and after seed production. Our results are consistent with previous studies both under greenhouse and field conditions with the same species showing differences in AM colonization between the sexes linked with allocation to reproduction. Taken together, the results indicate that there is a sex-specific interaction between A. dioica and AM fungi. Overall, females have a greater investment in AM fungi, likely to enhance their uptake of soil nutrients and support the reproduction by seed.
Asteraceae; AM morphotypes; plant-fungus interactions; secondary sexual dimorphism; sex allocation patterns
Global circulation models predict increased climatic variability, which could increase variability in demographic rates and affect long-term population viability. In animal-pollinated species, pollination services, and thus fruit and seed set, may be highly variable among years and sites, and depend on both local environmental conditions and climatic variables. Orchid species may be particularly vulnerable to disruption of their pollination services, as most species depend on pollinators for successful fruit set and because seed germination and seedling recruitment are to some extent dependent on the amount of fruits and seeds produced. Better insights into the factors determining fruit and seed set are therefore indispensable for a better understanding of population dynamics and viability of orchid populations under changing climatic conditions. However, very few studies have investigated spatio-temporal variation in fruit set in orchids. Here, we quantified fruit production in eight populations of the orchid Orchis purpurea that does not reward pollinators and 13 populations of the rewarding Neottia (Listera) ovata during five consecutive years (2002–2006). Fruit production in large populations showed much higher stability than that in small populations and was less affected by extreme weather conditions. Our results highlight the potential vulnerability of small orchid populations to an increasingly variable climate through highly unpredictable fruit-set patterns.
environmental stochasticity; female reproductive success; orchids; pollination; temporal variability
The signaling molecules strigolactone (SL) and karrikin are involved in seed germination, development of axillary meristems, senescence of leaves, and interactions with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. The signal transduction pathways for both SLs and karrikins require the same F-box protein (MAX2) and closely related α/β hydrolase fold proteins (DAD2 and KAI2). The crystal structure of DAD2 has been solved revealing an α/β hydrolase fold protein with an internal cavity capable of accommodating SLs. DAD2 responds to the SL analog GR24 by changing conformation and binding to MAX2 in a GR24 concentration-dependent manner. DAD2 can also catalyze hydrolysis of GR24. Structure activity relationships of analogs indicate that the butenolide ring common to both SLs and karrikins is essential for biological activity, but the remainder of the molecules can be significantly modified without loss of activity. The combination of data from the study of DAD2, KAI2, and chemical analogs of SLs and karrikins suggests a model for binding that requires nucleophilic attack by the active site serine of the hydrolase at the carbonyl atom of the butenolide ring. A conformational change occurs in the hydrolase that results in interaction with the F-box protein MAX2. Downstream signal transduction is then likely to occur via SCF (Skp-Cullin-F-box) complex-mediated ubiquitination of target proteins and their subsequent degradation. The role of the catalytic activity of the hydrolase is unclear but it may be integral in binding as well as possibly allowing the signal to be cleared from the receptor. The α/β hydrolase fold family consists mostly of active enzymes, with a few notable exceptions. We suggest that DAD2 and KAI2 represent an intermediate stage where some catalytic activity is retained at the same time as a receptor role has evolved.
strigolactone; karrikin; receptor; hormone; branching
Understanding the selective forces that shape reproductive strategies is a central goal of evolutionary ecology. Selection on the timing of reproduction is well studied in semelparous organisms because the cost of reproduction (death) can be easily incorporated into demographic models. Iteroparous organisms also exhibit delayed reproduction and experience reproductive costs, although these are not necessarily lethal. How non-lethal costs shape iteroparous life histories remains unresolved. We analysed long-term demographic data for the iteroparous orchid Orchis purpurea from two habitat types (light and shade). In both the habitats, flowering plants had lower growth rates and this cost was greater for smaller plants. We detected an additional growth cost of fruit production in the light habitat. We incorporated these non-lethal costs into integral projection models to identify the flowering size that maximizes fitness. In both habitats, observed flowering sizes were well predicted by the models. We also estimated optimal parameters for size-dependent flowering effort, but found a strong mismatch with the observed flower production. Our study highlights the role of context-dependent non-lethal reproductive costs as selective forces in the evolution of iteroparous life histories, and provides a novel and broadly applicable approach to studying the evolutionary demography of iteroparous organisms.
cost of reproduction; delayed reproduction; demography; integral projection model; iteroparity; life-history evolution
Because flavonoids from legumes induce transcription of nodulation genes in symbiotic rhizobial bacteria, it is reasonable to test whether these compounds alter the development of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungi that infect those plants. Quercetin-3-O-galactoside, the dominant flavonoid released naturally from alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) seeds, promoted spore germination of Glomus etunicatum and Glomus macrocarpum in vitro. Quercetin produced the maximum increases in spore germination, hyphal elongation, and hyphal branching in G. etunicatum at 1 to 2.5 μM concentrations. Two flavonoids exuded from alfalfa roots, 4′,7-dihydroxyflavone and 4′,7-dihydroxyflavanone, also enhanced spore germination of this fungal species. Formononetin, an isoflavone that is released from stressed alfalfa roots, inhibited germination of both Glomus species. These in vitro results suggest that plant flavonoids may facilitate or regulate the development of VAM symbioses and offer new hope for developing pure, plant-free cultures of VAM fungi.
Background and Aims
Mycorrhizal associations are essential to the plant kingdom. The largest flowering plant family, the Orchidaceae, relies on mycorrhizal fungi for germination, growth and survival. Evidence suggests varying degrees of fungal-host specificity based on a single fungal isolate from a single plant. This paper shows for the first time the diversity of endophytes colonizing in a single plant over consecutive years and the functional significance of this diversity.
Stem-collars of Caladenia formosa were collected in different seasons and years. Mycorrhizal fungi isolated were tested for their efficacy to induce leafing and genetically determined using ITS-RFLP and sequencing.
Multiple mycorrhizal fungi were repeatedly isolated from a single collar that displayed varying effectiveness in germination percentages and adult leaf length. Additional factors contributed to the isolation of effective mycorrhizal fungi; fungal collection season, year of collection and individual isolates. Surface sterilization only improved the number of isolated mycorrhizal fungi. Dual inoculation did not increase germination. All 59 mycorrhizal fungi effective in germinating seed belonged to one clearly defined ITS (internal transcribed spacer) clade and clustered close to Sebacina vermifera (79–89 % homology). Isolates resulting in the greatest germination were not necessarily those resulting in the greatest survival and growth 1 year after germination.
Single orchid plants contained multiple mycorrhizal fungal strains of one species that had diverse functional differences. These results suggest that our current knowledge of fungal–host specificity may be incomplete due to experimental and analytical limitations. It also suggests that the long-term effectiveness of a mycorrhizal fungus or fungi could only be found by germination and longer-term growth tests rather than genetically.
Mycorrhizal fungi; genetic diversity; effectiveness; germination; isolation; ITS; seasonal influences; Caladenia formosa; Orchidaceae
Truffles have evolved from epigeous (aboveground) ancestors in nearly every major lineage of fleshy fungi. Because accelerated rates of morphological evolution accompany the transition to the truffle form, closely related epigeous ancestors remain unknown for most truffle lineages. This is the case for the quintessential truffle genus Tuber, which includes species with socio-economic importance and esteemed culinary attributes. Ecologically, Tuber spp. form obligate mycorrhizal symbioses with diverse species of plant hosts including pines, oaks, poplars, orchids, and commercially important trees such as hazelnut and pecan. Unfortunately, limited geographic sampling and inconclusive phylogenetic relationships have obscured our understanding of their origin, biogeography, and diversification. To address this problem, we present a global sampling of Tuberaceae based on DNA sequence data from four loci for phylogenetic inference and molecular dating. Our well-resolved Tuberaceae phylogeny shows high levels of regional and continental endemism. We also identify a previously unknown epigeous member of the Tuberaceae – the South American cup-fungus Nothojafnea thaxteri (E.K. Cash) Gamundí. Phylogenetic resolution was further improved through the inclusion of a previously unrecognized Southern hemisphere sister group of the Tuberaceae. This morphologically diverse assemblage of species includes truffle (e.g. Gymnohydnotrya spp.) and non-truffle forms that are endemic to Australia and South America. Southern hemisphere taxa appear to have diverged more recently than the Northern hemisphere lineages. Our analysis of the Tuberaceae suggests that Tuber evolved from an epigeous ancestor. Molecular dating estimates Tuberaceae divergence in the late Jurassic (∼156 million years ago), with subsequent radiations in the Cretaceous and Paleogene. Intra-continental diversification, limited long-distance dispersal, and ecological adaptations help to explain patterns of truffle evolution and biodiversity.
Background and Aims
The knotweed complex, Fallopia spp. (Polygonaceae), belongs to the most troublesome invasive species in Europe and North America. Vegetative regeneration is widely recognized as the main mode of reproduction in the adventive regions. However, the contribution of sexual reproduction to the success of these invasive species has only been detailed for the British Isles. An examination was made as to how hybridization may influence the sexual reproduction of the complex in Belgium and to determine how it may contribute to the dispersal of the species.
Studies were made of floral biology, reproductive success, seed rain, seed bank, germination capacity, seedling survival and dispersal capacity in order to characterize the reproductive biology of the species. Moreover, chromosome counts and flow cytometry were used to assess the hybrid status of seedlings produced by sexual reproduction.
In the area investigated, extensive sexual reproduction by hybridization within the complex, including one horticultural species, was demonstrated. A small percentage of seeds may be dispersed outside the maternal clone (>16 m) allowing the formation of genetically differentiated individuals. Seed germination was possible even after a winter cold period.
The extensive sexual reproduction by hybridization could further contribute to the dramatic invasive success of knotweeds in Belgium and should not be underestimated when considering control and management measures.
Chromosome counts; dispersal capacity; Fallopia aubertii; Fallopia×bohemica; Fallopia japonica; Fallopia sachalinensis; flow cytometry; germination; hybridization; invasive plant; sexual reproduction
Background and Aims
Selection may favour a partial or complete loss of self-incompatibility (SI) if it increases the reproductive output of individuals in the presence of low mate availability. The reproductive output of individuals varying in their strength of SI may also be affected by population density via its affect on the spatial structuring and number of S-alleles in populations. Modifiers increasing levels of self-compatibility can be selected when self-compatible individuals receive reproductive compensation by, for example, increasing seed set and/or when they become associated with high fitness genotypes.
The effect of variation in the strength of SI and scrub density (low versus high) on seed set, seed germination and inbreeding depression in seed germination (δgerm) was investigated in the partially self-incompatible species Flourensia cernua by analysing data from self-, cross- and open-pollinated florets.
Examination of 100 plants in both high and low scrub densities revealed that 51% of plants were strongly self-incompatible and 49 % varied from being self-incompatible to self-compatible. Seed set after hand cross-pollination was higher than after open-pollination for self-incompatible, partially self-incompatible and self-compatible plants but was uniformly low for strongly self-incompatible plants. Strongly self-incompatible and self-incompatible plants exhibited lower seed set, seed germination and multiplicative female fitness (floral display × seed set × seed germination) in open-pollinated florets compared with partially self-incompatible and self-compatible plants. Scrub density also had an effect on seed set and inbreeding depression: in low-density scrubs seed set was higher after open-pollination and δgerm was lower.
These data suggest that (a) plants suffered outcross pollen limitation, (b) female fitness in partially self-incompatible and self-compatible plants is enhanced by increased mate-compatibility and (c) plants in low-density scrubs received higher quality pollen via open-pollination than plants in high-density scrubs.
Flourensia cernua; population density; seed set; seed germination; female fitness; partial self-incompatibility; Mapimí Biosphere Reserve
The seed-borne mycoflora of sorghum and foxtail millet collected from different growing areas in South Korea were isolated and taxonomically identified using dry inspection, standard blotter and the agar plate method. We investigated the in vitro and in vivo germination rates of disinfected and non-disinfected seeds of sorghum and foxtail millet using sterilized and unsterilized soil. The percent recovery of seed-borne mycoflora from the seed components of sorghum and foxtail millet seeds was determined and an infection experiment using the dominant species was evaluated for seedling emergence and mortality. A higher number of seed-borne fungi was observed in sorghum compared to that of foxtail millet. Eighteen fungal genera with 34 fungal species were identified from the seeds of sorghum and 13 genera with 22 species were identified from the seeds of foxtail millet. Five dominant species such as Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus flavus, Curvularia lunata, Fusarium moniliforme and Phoma sp. were recorded as seed-borne mycoflora in sorghum and 4 dominant species (Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus flavus, Curvularia lunata, Fusarium moniliforme) were observed in foxtail millet. The in vitro and in vivo germination rates were higher using disinfected seeds and sterilized soil. More seed-borne fungi were recovered from the pericarp compared to the endosperm and seed embryo. The percent recovery of seed-borne fungi ranged from 2.22% to 60.0%, and Alternaria alternata, Curvularia lunata and 4 species of Fusarium were isolated from the endosperm and embryo of sorghum and foxtail millet. Inoculation of the dominant seed-borne fungi showed considerable mortality of seedlings. All the transmitted seed-borne fungi might well be a primary source of infection of sorghum and foxtail millet crops.
Foxtail millet; Mycoflora; Seed-borne; Seed germination; Seed health testing