Fungal endophytes: diversity and functional roles

New Phytologist
By: , and 

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Abstract

All plants in natural ecosystems appear to be symbiotic with fungal endophytes. This highly diverse group of fungi can have profound impacts on plant communities through increasing fitness by conferring abiotic and biotic stress tolerance, increasing biomass and decreasing water consumption, or decreasing fitness by altering resource allocation. Despite more than 100 yr of research resulting in thousands of journal articles, the ecological significance of these fungi remains poorly characterized. Historically, two endophytic groups (clavicipitaceous (C) and nonclavicipitaceous (NC)) have been discriminated based on phylogeny and life history traits. Here, we show that NC-endophytes represent three distinct functional groups based on host colonization and transmission, in planta biodiversity and fitness benefits conferred to hosts. Using this framework, we contrast the life histories, interactions with hosts and potential roles in plant ecophysiology of C- and NC-endophytes, and highlight several key questions for future work in endophyte biology.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Fungal endophytes: diversity and functional roles
Series title New Phytologist
DOI 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.02773.x
Volume 182
Issue 2
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Western Fisheries Research Center
Description 17 p.
Larger Work Title New
First page 314
Last page 330