Adaptation and survival of plants in high stress habitats via fungal endophyte conferred stress tolerance

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From the Arctic to the Antarctic, plants thrive in diverse habitats that impose different levels of adaptive pressures depending on the type and degree of biotic and abiotic stresses inherent to each habitat (Stevens, 1989). At any particular location, the abundance and distribution of individual plant species vary tremendously and is theorized to be based on the ability to tolerate a wide range of edaphic conditions and habitat-specific stresses (Pianka, 1966). The ability of individual plant species to thrive in diverse habitats is commonly referred to as phenotypic plasticity and is thought to involve adaptations based on changes in the plant genome (Givnish, 2002; Pan et al., 2006; Robe and Griffiths, 2000; Schurr et al., 2006). Habitats that impose high levels of abiotic stress are typically colonized with fewer plant species compared to habitats imposing low levels of stress. Moreover, high stress habitats have decreased levels of plant abundance compared to low stress habitats even though these habitats may occur in close proximity to one another (Perelman et al., 2007). This is particularly interesting because all plants are known to perceive, transmit signals, and respond to abiotic stresses such as drought, heat, and salinity (Bartels and Sunkar, 2005; Bohnert et al., 1995). Although there has been extensive research performed to determine the genetic, molecular, and physiological bases of how plants respond to and tolerate stress, the nature of plant adaptation to high stress habitats remains unresolved (Leone et al., 2003; Maggio et al., 2003; Tuberosa et al., 2003). However, recent evidence indicates that a ubiquitous aspect of plant biology (fungal symbiosis) is involved in the adaptation and survival of at least some plants in high stress habitats (Rodriguez et al., 2008).

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Adaptation and survival of plants in high stress habitats via fungal endophyte conferred stress tolerance
DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-9449-0_23
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Contributing office(s) Western Fisheries Research Center
Description 16 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Symbioses and Stress
First page 461
Last page 476
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