Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Geographical and temporal changes of foliar fungal endophytes associated with the invasive plant Ageratina adenophora.

Abstract

Endophytes may gradually accumulate in the new geographic range of a non-native plant, just as pathogens do. To test this hypothesis, the dynamics of colonization and diversity of foliar fungal endophytes of non-native Ageratina adenophora were investigated. Previous reports showed that the time since the initial introduction (1930s) of A. adenophora into China varied among populations. Endophytes were sampled in three provinces of Southwest China in 21 sites that varied from 20 to 70 years since the introduction of A. adenophora from its native Central America. Endophyte isolation frequencies varied from 1.87% to 60.23% overall in a total of 4,032 leaf fragments. Based on ITS sequence variations, 463 fungal endophytes were distinguished as 112 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) belonging to the Sordariomycetes (77 OTUs, 373 isolates), Dothideomycetes (18 OTUs, 38 isolates), and Agaricomycetes (17 OTUs, 52 strains) classes. Colletotrichum (28.51%), Nemania (14.90%), Phomopsis (13.17%), and Xylaria (4.97%) were the most abundant genera. Both endophyte diversity and overall isolation frequency increased with time since introduction. The genetic differentiation of the fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides indicated that the dispersal of endophytes was likely affected by a combination of geographic factors and the invasion history of the host A. adenophora.