Sexual and asexual states of some endophytic Phialocephala species of Picea.

Tanney, J.B., Douglas, B., and Seifert, K.A. (2016). "Sexual and asexual states of some endophytic Phialocephala species of Picea.", Mycologia, 108(2), pp. 255-280. doi : 10.3852/15-136  Access to full text

Abstract

Unidentified DNA sequences in isolation-based or culture-free studies of conifer endophytes are a persistent problem that requires a field approach to resolve. An investigation of foliar endophytes of Picea glauca, P. mariana, P. rubens and Pinus strobus in eastern Canada, using a combined field, morphological, cultural and DNA sequencing approach, resulted in the frequent isolation of Phialocephala spp. and the first verified discovery of their mollisia-like sexual states in the field. Phialocephala scopiformis and Ph. piceae were the most frequent species isolated as endophytes from healthy conifer needles. Corresponding Mollisia or mollisioid sexual states for Ph. scopiformis, Ph. piceae and several undescribed species in a clade containing Ph. dimorphospora were collected in the sampling area and characterized by analysis of the nuc internal transcribed spacer rDNA (ITS) and gene for the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (RPB1) loci. Four novel species and one new combination in a clade containing Ph. dimorphospora, the type of Phialocephala, are presented, accompanied by descriptions of apothecia and previously undocumented synanamorphs. An epitype culture and corresponding reference sequences for Phialocephala dimorphospora are proposed. The resulting ITS barcodes linked with robust taxonomic species concepts are an important resource for future research on forest ecosystems and endophytes.

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