A test of community assembly rules using foliar endophytes from a tropical forest canopy

Type Article
Date 2020-07
Language English
Author(s) Donald Julian1, Roy Mélanie1, Suescun Uxue1, Iribar Amaia1, Manzi Sophie1, Péllissier Léonie2, Gaucher Philippe3, Chave Jérôme1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Université Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier, CNRS IRD, UMR 5174 Evolution et Diversité Biologique (EDB) 118 route de NarbonneF‐31062 Toulouse , France
2 : School of Pharmaceutical Sciences EPGL, University of Geneva, University of Lausanne Rue Michel Servet 1CH‐1211Geneva , Switzerland
3 : CNRS, UMRS LEEISA, Université de Guyane, Cayenne, French Guiana
Source Journal Of Ecology (0022-0477) (Wiley), 2020-07 , Vol. 108 , N. 4 , P. 1605-1616
DOI 10.1111/1365-2745.13344
WOS© Times Cited 16
Keyword(s) bacteria, distribution, French Guiana, fungi, metabarcoding, plant-pathogen interactions, rainforest

1.Community assembly theory assumes that ecological communities are spatially delimited into patches. Within these patches, coexistence results from environmental filtering, competition, and immigration. Truly delineated communities exist in laboratory studies of microbial cultures in Petri dishes, yet empirical tests conducted in continuous environments often use patches defined by convention as opposed to realised boundaries.

2.Here we perform a test of ecological community assembly rules using foliar endophyte communities from a tropical rainforest, where leaves are considered as patches for both fungal and bacterial communities. We determined the diversity of fungal and bacterial endophytes using environmental DNA sequencing of 365 top‐canopy leaves, collected from 38 host trees belonging to 22 different species across a 4‐hectare research plot. Three leaves were collected from three or more branches within each tree crown. We tested the effect of host tree species and their level of phylogenetic relatedness on community composition as well as the contribution of geographic distance between leaves to endophyte community diversity.

3.Endophyte diversity significantly differed across host tree species, as did community composition. Within certain endophytic orders (Xylariales, Rhizobiales) species assemblages significantly differed across host tree species, but this trend was weaker or non‐existent in other orders known to contain pathogens and saprotrophs (Polyporales, Solirubrobacterales). Phylogenetically related host tree species displayed more similar endophyte communities than expected by chance, but geographically close trees did not. Consistent with the finding of host‐specificity, nearby leaves tended to host more similar communities than distantly positioned ones.

4.These findings demonstrate that foliar endophytes are structured by dispersal across small spatial scales, but at the scale of the canopy they display patterns of neutral filtering, with only a small part of variation described by host tree differences. Endophyte communities thus act as a model system in evoking the rules predicted by theoretical community ecology.

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Donald Julian, Roy Mélanie, Suescun Uxue, Iribar Amaia, Manzi Sophie, Péllissier Léonie, Gaucher Philippe, Chave Jérôme (2020). A test of community assembly rules using foliar endophytes from a tropical forest canopy. Journal Of Ecology, 108(4), 1605-1616. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13344 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00606/71808/