Clavulina-Membranomyces is the most important lineage within the highly diverse ectomycorrhizal fungal community of Abies religiosa.Mycorrhiza. 2017 Jan; 27(1):53-65.M
Abies religiosa is an endemic conifer of Mexico, where its monodominant forests are the winter refuge of the monarch butterfly. Due to climate change, it has been estimated that by 2090, A. religiosa populations will decline by 96.5 %. To achieve success, reforestation programs should consider its ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi. We used ITS nrDNA sequences to identify the ECM fungi associated with A. religiosa and, based on its abundance and frequency, determined the diversity and community structure in a pure A. religiosa forest near Mexico City. Using sequence metadata, we inferred the species geographic distribution and host preferences. We conducted phylogenetic analyses of the Clavulinaceae (the most important family). The ECM community held 83 species, among which the richest genera were Inocybe (21 species), Tomentella (10 species), and Russula (8 species). Besides its low species richness, the Clavulina-Membranomyces lineage was the most dominant family. Clavulina cf. cinerea and Membranomyces sp. exhibited the highest relative abundance and relative frequency values. Phylogenetic analyses placed the Clavulinaceae genotypes in three different clades: one within Membranomyces and two within Clavulina. A meta-analysis showed that the majority of the ECM fungi (45.78 %) associated with A. religiosa in Mexico have also been sequenced from North America and are shared by Pinaceae and Fagaceae. In contrast, because they have not been sequenced previously, 32.2 % of the species have a restricted distribution. Here, we highlight the emerging pattern that the Clavulina-Membranomyces lineage is dominant in several ECM communities in the Neotropics, including Aldinia and Dicymbe legume tropical forests in the Guyana Shield, the Alnus acuminata subtropical communities, and the A. religiosa temperate forests in Mexico.