Greenhouse seedlings of Alnus showed low host intrageneric specificity and a strong preference for some Tomentella ectomycorrhizal associates.Microb Ecol. 2015 May; 69(4):813-25.ME
Ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal associates of Alnus are relatively few in comparison with those associated with other tree hosts. The composition of ECM assemblages associated with Alnus seems to change very little across the Northern Hemisphere. However, Alnus-associated ECM assemblages from the Western United States, Mexico, and Argentina tend to differ from those in eastern North America and Europe, presumably due to their different biogeographic histories. Alnus glutinosa is a northern European species subjected to diverse environmental conditions. To address intrageneric host preference within two distantly related Alnus species (Alnus acuminata and A. glutinosa), we tested the ECM colonization on seedlings of both species inoculated with natural soil from A. acuminata forests. Two tomentelloid ECM fungi from A. acuminata natural soils were determined from the anatomotyping and molecular analysis. Both species colonized A. glutinosa seedlings and presented similar relative abundances. Additional soil sequence data from A. acuminata sites suggest that a variety of tomentelloid taxa occur, including several unidentified Tomentella lineages. Maximum-likelihood and Bayesian inference analyses based on internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences from various locations do not reflect associations of taxa based on their biogeographic origin, and clades are in general constituted by sequences from diverse regions, including South America, Mexico, USA, and Europe. Results illustrate the probable role of specific tomentelloid fungi in the early colonization of seedlings in A. acuminata forests as well as their importance in the structure of the ECM propagule community at the sites.