Vernon, Scott , Gacura, Matthew , Campana, Eduardo A. , Blackwood, Christopher .
Senescence and Niche Priority: Successional Roles of Fungal Endophytes in Manistee National Forest, MI.
Upon senescence, a leaf presents a carbon, energy and nutrient resource for which many fungi compete. Saprotrophic fungi utilize a use a complex array of extracellular enzymes for degradation of polymers. Endophytes are positioned to exploit this niche prior to saprotrophs because they inhabit leaves before they senesce. This study focuses on characterization of fungal endophytes during succession on decomposing leaves in Manistee National Forest, MI. Leaves of Acer saccharum, Quercus rubra, Quercus velutina, Quercus alba and Tilia americana were collected at three successional stages: living, recently senesced and decayed. Each leaf was surface sterilized and subsampled to nutrient medium where the resulting fungal growth was subcultured until isolation. A total of 270 isolates were obtained and morphotyped. Ten isolates from living leaves and twenty isolates from decayed leaves were chosen for further physiological characterization. These isolates were inoculated into individual microcosms of sterile leaf litter and incubated for two weeks. Leaf litter sampled from each microcosm was used for enzymatic characterization, biomass and moisture content. Analysis of morphotypes, enzyme activities and growth rates on media revealed that there was no discernible difference among fungi isolated from different leaf decay stages. This provides some evidence that endophytic fungi have saprotrophic characteristics and may, with the right conditions, become decomposers of leaf litter.
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1 - Kent State University, Department of Biological Sciences, Kent, OH, 44240, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Location: Battelle South/Convention Center
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM