Botryosphaeriaceae as endophytes and latent pathogens of woody plants: diversity, ecology and impact.
In many respects, the ecology of members of the Botryosphaeriaceae compare to general patterns observed for the collective of endophytes of woody plants. These include high levels of diversity, horizontal transmission a spatial structure and a continuum of levels of host affinity from specific to very broad. Some members of the Botryosphaeriaceae are, however, among the most aggressive pathogens in the assemblages of common endophytic fungi, often killing large parts of their host, following physical damage or general stress on the host (and over large areas). Their wide occurrence, the latent phase which can be overlooked by quarantine, and their ability to rapidly cause disease when their hosts are under stress, make these fungi a significant threat to agricultural, plantation and native forest ecosystems alike. This is especially relevant under emerging conditions of dramatic climate change that increases stress on plant communities. It is, therefore, important to maximize our understanding of the ecology and pathology of the Botryosphaeriaceae, particularly as it relates to their endophytic nature, species richness, host switching ability and the host-fungus-environment interaction.