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Geosmithia Fungi Are Highly Diverse and Consistent Bark Beetle Associates: Evidence from Their Community Structure in Temperate Europe

Miroslav Kolařík, Alena Kubátová, Jiří Hulcr and Sylvie Pažoutová
Microbial Ecology
Vol. 55, No. 1 (Jan., 2008), pp. 65-80
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25153440
Page Count: 16
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Geosmithia Fungi Are Highly Diverse and Consistent Bark Beetle Associates: Evidence from Their Community Structure in Temperate Europe
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Abstract

Geosmithia spp. (Ascomycota: Hypocreales) are little-studied, dry-spored fungi that occur in galleries built by many phloeophagous bark beetles. This study mapped the distribution and environmental preferences of Geosmithia species occurring in galleries of temperate European bark beetles. One hundred seven host tree samples of 16 tree species infested with 23 subcortical insect species were collected from across Europe during the years 1997-2005. Over 600 Geosmithia isolates from the beetles were sorted into 17 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) based on their phenotype similarity and phylogeny of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2). The OTUs represent six known species and eight undescribed taxa. Ninety-two samples infested with subcortical insects were characterized by the presence/absence of OTUs and the similarity among the samples was evaluated. Geographically distant populations of the same beetle species host relatively uniform Geosmithia communities across large geographic areas (ranging from southern Bulgaria to the Czech Republic). This suggests effective dispersal of Geosmithia spp. by bark beetles. Clustering of similar samples in ordination analysis is correlated predominantly with the isolation source (bark beetles and their respective feeding plant), but not with their geographical origin. The composition of the Geosmithia OTU community of each bark beetle species depends on the degree of isolation of the species' niches. Thus, Geosmithia communities associated with regularly co-occurring bark beetle species are highly similar. The similarity decreases with decreasing frequency of beetle species' co-occurrence, a pattern resembling that of entomochoric ophiostomatoid fungi. These findings suggest that: 1) communities of Geosmithia spp. are vector-specific; 2) at least in some cases, the association between Geosmithia OTUs and bark beetles may have been very stable and symbioses are likely to be a fundamental factor in the speciation of Geosmithia fungi; and 3) that even nonsticky spores of Geosmithia are suitable for maintaining an insect-fungus association, contrary to previous hypotheses.

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