The ecology of the phyllosphere: geographic and phylogenetic variability in the distribution of bacteria on tree leaves
Article first published online: 3 NOV 2010
© 2010 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 12, Issue 11, pages 2885–2893, November 2010
How to Cite
Redford, A. J., Bowers, R. M., Knight, R., Linhart, Y. and Fierer, N. (2010), The ecology of the phyllosphere: geographic and phylogenetic variability in the distribution of bacteria on tree leaves. Environmental Microbiology, 12: 2885–2893. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2010.02258.x
- Issue published online: 3 NOV 2010
- Article first published online: 3 NOV 2010
- Received 29 December, 2009; accepted 11 April, 2010.
Large populations of bacteria live on leaf surfaces and these phyllosphere bacteria can have important effects on plant health. However, we currently have a limited understanding of bacterial diversity on tree leaves and the inter- and intra-specific variability in phyllosphere community structure. We used a barcoded pyrosequencing technique to characterize the bacterial communities from leaves of 56 tree species in Boulder, Colorado, USA, quantifying the intra- and inter-individual variability in the bacterial communities from 10 of these species. We also examined the geographic variability in phyllosphere communities on Pinus ponderosa from several locations across the globe. Individual tree species harboured high levels of bacterial diversity and there was considerable variability in community composition between trees. The bacterial communities were organized in patterns predictable from the relatedness of the trees as there was significant correspondence between tree phylogeny and bacterial community phylogeny. Inter-specific variability in bacterial community composition exceeded intra-specific variability, a pattern that held even across continents where we observed minimal geographic differentiation in the bacterial communities on P. ponderosa needles.