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Abstract Detail

Mycological Section

Ndinga Muniania, Cedric [1], Sandona, Katrina [1], Belnap, Jayne [2], Porras-Alfaro, Andrea [3], Kuske, Cheryl R. [4].

Distribution of Fungi in Arid Microenvironments and their Potential Role on Plant Growth.

In arid ecosystems, fungi form complex microbial communities with plants and other photosynthetic organisms. Many of these fungi are likely to contribute to plant survival, soil protection, and nutrient enrichment. However the role and diversity of these fungi are not well known, especially their potential pathogenicity or growth promoting properties that could impact nearby plants. We collected soil and isolated fungi from different microenvironments in an arid grassland near Moab, UT. The biocrust (BSC) fungi were isolated from lichen, moss and cyanobacteria, and rhizosphere soils were collected from two plants, Bromus tectorum and Hilaria jamesii. Fungi were isolated using a serial dilution technique and identified using ITS rRNA sequencing. From the 906 fungi isolated, 689 have been sequenced and Ascomycota was the dominant phylum. Pleosporales was the dominant order in the BSC and Eurotiales was the dominant order in the rhizophere. The most dominant genera included Aspergillus, Coniochaeta, Alternaria, Preussia, Cladosporium, Chaetomium and Penicillium. Seed germination experiments using dominant taxa were conducted in corn and soybean to determine potential roles of these fungi on plant growth. Our preliminary results showed that dark septate fungi, in particular Cladosporium and Alternaria, promote plant growth by stimulating root production and stem elongation. In addition of dark septate fungal adaptation to arid ecosystems, this growth promoting ability could be an important factor to help plants to cope with heat and drought conditions.

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1 - Western Illinois University, Biological Science, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL, 61455, United States
2 - US Geological Survey, Climate Variability & Change, 2290 S. West Resource Blvd., Moab, UT, 84532, USA
3 - Western Illinois University, Biological Sciences, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL, 61455, USA
4 - Los Alamos National Lab, Enviornmental Microbiology, P.O. Box 1663, Los Alamos, NM, 87545, USA

Dark septate fungi
Arid ecosystem
Growth promotion.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Hall D/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PMY015
Abstract ID:864
Candidate for Awards:MSA Best Poster Presentation Award by a Graduate Student

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