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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Plant Gene Expression Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376173

Research Project: Discovery of Plant Genetic Mechanisms Controlling Microbial Recruitment to the Root Microbiome

Location: Plant Gene Expression Center

Title: Fungal community assembly in drought-stressed sorghum shows stochasticity, selection and universal ecological dynamics

item GAO, CHENG - University Of California
item MONTOYA, LILLIAM - University Of California
item XU, LING - University Of California
item PURDOM, ELIZABETH - University Of California
item HOLLINGSWORTH, JOY - Kearney Agricultural Center
item SINGAN, VASANTH - Joint Genome Institute
item VOGEL, JOHN - Joint Genome Institute
item HUTMACHER, ROBERT - Kearney Agricultural Center
item DAHLBERG, JEFFERY - Kearney Agricultural Center
item Coleman-Derr, Devin
item LEMAUX, PEGGY - University Of California
item TAYLOR, JOHN - University Of California

Submitted to: Nature Communications
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/28/2019
Publication Date: 1/7/2020
Citation: Gao, C., Montoya, L., Xu, L., Purdom, E., Hollingsworth, J., Singan, V., Vogel, J., Hutmacher, R., Dahlberg, J., Coleman-Derr, D.A., Lemaux, P., Taylor, J. 2020. Fungal community assembly in drought-stressed sorghum shows stochasticity, selection and universal ecological dynamics. Nature Communications. 11:34.

Interpretive Summary: In nature, the intimate, symbiotic association of fungi with living plants is well appreciated, whether as mycorrhizal partners or parasites1, as is their role as drivers of plant community structure. Equally well appreciated is their association with dead plants where their role in ecosystem carbon and nitrogen cycling has been highlighted. In contrast, studies of the total communities of fungi associated with plants are few and far fewer than those of total communities of bacteria1, despite the fact that, in terrestrial environments, fungi account for more biomass than bacteria8,9. Here we tackle this gap in knowledge of fungal communities associated with plants by adding the fungal mycobiome to studies of the bacterial microbiome.

Technical Abstract: Community assembly of crop-associated fungi is thought to be strongly influenced by deterministic selection exerted by the plant host, rather than stochastic processes. Here we use a simple, sorghum system with abundant sampling to show that stochastic forces (drift or stochastic dispersal) act on fungal community assembly in leaves and roots early in host development and when sorghum is drought stressed, conditions when mycobiomes are small. Unexpectedly, we find no signal for stochasticity when drought stress is relieved, likely due to renewed selection by the host. In our experimental system, the host compartment exerts the strongest effects on mycobiome assembly, followed by the timing of plant development and lastly by plant genotype. Using a dissimilarity-overlap approach, we find a universality in the forces of community assembly of the mycobiomes of the different sorghum compartments and in functional guilds of fungi.