Data from: Specificity of fungal associations of Pyroleae and Monotropa hypopitys during germination and seedling development
Johansson, Veronika A et al. (2017), Data from: Specificity of fungal associations of Pyroleae and Monotropa hypopitys during germination and seedling development, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.q6h2n
Mycoheterotrophic plants obtain organic carbon from associated mycorrhizal fungi, fully or partially. Angiosperms with this form of nutrition possess exceptionally small 'dust seeds' which after germination develop 'seedlings' that remain subterranean for several years, fully dependent on fungi for supply of carbon. Mycoheterotrophs which as adults have photosynthesis thus develop from full to partial mycoheterotrophy, or autotrophy, during ontogeny. Mycoheterotrophic plants may represent a gradient of variation in a parasitism-mutualism continuum, both among and within species. Previous studies on plant-fungal associations in mycoheterotrophs have focused on either germination or the adult life stages of the plant. Much less is known about the fungal associations during development of the subterranean seedlings. We investigated germination and seedling development and the diversity of fungi associated with germinating seeds and subterranean seedlings (juveniles) in five Monotropoideae (Ericaceae) species, the full mycoheterotroph Monotropa hypopitys and the putatively partial mycoheterotrophs Pyrola chlorantha, P. rotundifolia, Moneses uniflora and Chimaphila umbellata. Seedlings retrieved from seed sowing experiments in the field were used to examine diversity of fungal associates, using pyrosequencing analysis of ITS2 region for fungal identification. The investigated species varied with regard to germination, seedling development and diversity of associated fungi during juvenile ontogeny. Results suggest that fungal host specificity increases during juvenile ontogeny, most pronounced in the fully mycoheterotrophic species, but a narrowing of fungal associates was found also in two partially mycoheterotrophic species. We suggest that variation in specificity of associated fungi during seedling ontogeny in mycoheterotrophs represents ongoing evolution along a parasitism-mutualism continuum.