Epichloë glyceriae infection affects carbon translocation in the clonal grass Glyceria striata

Authors

  • Jean J. Pan,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA;
    2. Present address: Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 1987 Upper Buford Circle, 100 Ecology, University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN 55108, USA
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  • Keith Clay

    1. Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA;
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Author for correspondence: Jean J. Pan Tel: +1 612 6246794 Fax: +1 612 6246777 Email: jepan@umn.edu

Summary

  • • Systemic fungal endophytes derive resources from hosts and can affect host resource movement and integration. We examined whether infection by Epichloë glyceriae altered clonal growth of its host, Glyceria striata, through changes in physiology.
  • • Growth of severed and intact stolons was compared to examine physiological integration in infected and disinfected (fungicide-treated) plants. To assess whether infection changed carbon (C) movement, labelling with 14C was used.
  • • We found physiological integration did not affect biomass per stolon for either infected or disinfected plants. The severed stolon to intact stolon ratio for the number of daughter ramets within a plant did not differ by infection status, although fewer daughter ramets were produced on severed stolons of disinfected plants. 14C movement from the labelled leaf was greater for infected stolons, whereas the labelled leaf retained more assimilate for stolons of disinfected plants.
  • • Previous studies showed that Epichloë glyceriae could increase host clonal growth. In this study, infection changed host assimilate distribution, but did not lead to corresponding differences in stolon growth. The effects of endophytes on host physiology and clonal growth may depend on environmental conditions.

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