The ectomycorrhizal fungal community in a neotropical forest dominated by the endemic dipterocarp Pakaraimaea dipterocarpacea.
Ectomycorrhizal (ECM) plants and fungi can be diverse and abundant in certain tropical ecosystems. For example, the primarily paleotropical ECM plant family Dipterocarpaceae is one of the most speciose and ecologically important tree families in Southeast Asia. Pakaraimaea dipterocarpacea is one of two species of dipterocarp known from the Neotropics, and is also the only known member of the monotypic Dipterocarpaceae subfamily Pakaraimoideae. This Guiana Shield endemic is only known from the sandstone highlands of Guyana and Venezuela. Despite its unique phylogenetic position and unusual geographical distribution, the ECM fungal associations of P. dipterocarpacea are understudied throughout the tree's range. In December 2010 we sampled ECM fungi on roots of P. dipterocarpacea and the co-occurring ECM tree Dicymbe jenmanii (Fabaceae subfamily Caesalpinioideae) in the Upper Mazaruni River Basin of Guyana. Based on ITS rDNA sequencing we documented 52 ECM species from 11 independent fungal lineages. Due to the phylogenetic distance between the two host tree species, we hypothesized that P. dipterocarpacea would harbor unique ECM fungi not found on the roots of D. jenmanii. Although statistical tests suggested that several ECM fungal species did exhibit host preferences for either P. dipterocarpacea or D. jenmanii, most of the ECM fungi were multi-host generalists. We also detected several ECM fungi that have never been found in long-term studies of nearby rainforests dominated by other Dicymbe species. One particular mushroom-forming fungus appears to be unique and may represent a new ECM lineage of Agaricales that is endemic to the Neotropics.
Smith, ME; Henkel, TW; Uehling, JK; Fremier, AK; Clarke, HD; Vilgalys, R
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